Verde Potash completes drilling at Brazilian project

20 March 2014 18:52 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Fertilizer developer Verde Potash announced on Thursday it has completed drilling at the Cerrado Verde Potash project in Brazil and has determined there is mineral reserves of approximately 1.47bn tonnes.

Toronto-based Verde said the measured and indicated mineral resource estimate is calculated at 1.47bn tonnes at a grade of 9.2% potassium oxide (K2O). In addition, the revised inferred mineral resource estimate is 1.85bn tonnes at a K2O grade of 8.6%. Over 1.4bn tonnes of resource has been upgraded from the inferred to the measured and indicated categories.

The Cerrado Verde project is located in the western state of Minas Gerais and the company plans on producing ThermoPotash and potassium chloride (KCI) using strip mining techniques.

ThermoPotash is a controlled released non-chloride multi-nutrient version of potash developed by the company to compete with other premium non-chloride potash fertilizers within the Brazilian market.

Verde officials said that Brazil's annual potash consumption is approximately 4.9m tonnes and that the new resource estimates represents over 295m tonnes of in-place potash.

“The company is on track to complete and publish the pre-feasibility study in Q1 2014 for its Phase 1, 1,000 tonnes per day ThermoPotash facility, the Flex Plant. The Flex Plant will also be operated to process KCl [potassium chloride] in order to secure the necessary performance guarantees,” said Cristiano Veloso, Verde CEO.

“The upcoming pre-feasibility study will address ThermoPotash, not KCl, so that the company can gradually and ultimately maximise production from its large potash resource in the heart of Brazil in order to become a significant domestic producer.”

In an update on its environmental license Verde officials said the company has meet with Brazilian regulators recently and is still focused on completing the regulatory efforts for securing approval for its operations related to ThermoPotash. The company has decided to terminate its licensing process for KCl production as it would need to continue investing capital on studies required by Brazilian authorities.

Verde said it is not feasible to convert the current application process for KCl into an application process for ThermoPotash and will not spend additional resources on securing an environmental license for KCl production until ThermoPotash operations begin.

Given that ThermoPotash production has less environmental impact, the project has been classified by Brazilian environmental authorities as Class III, which allows for an expedited licensing process for the preliminary and construction permit.

By Mark Milam