IM Agriminerals News in Brief 7 – 13 November

By Myles McCormick
Published: Friday, 13 November 2015

Uralkali mulls 300,000 tonnes potash target slash for Q4; Yara brings SNC Lavalin on board for Ethiopian potash project; Pakistani government extends fertiliser subsidy to single super phosphate.

Russia’s Uralkali PJSC is "considering the possibility" of reducing its Q4 potash sales target by around 300,000 tonnes, according to its marketing director Vladislav Lyan, quoted in a piece by Bloomberg.

The newswire said that Lyan had declined to give the company’s current sales target.

Rival producers have already implemented similar measures, with North American miners Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Mosaic Co. both reducing output in attempts to increase prices, while Belaruskali JSC said earlier this month that it would lower capacity to 65% by year-end due to reduced demand.

ASX-listed Rum Jungle Resources Ltd has begun a drilling programme at its Kanringa Lakes potash site.

The company hopes to complete a 12-hole project in order to "test the depth extension of brine aquifers" and to "better understand the nature of the hydrology, brine chemistry at depth and ground water recharge potential of the system".

The site has a 2012 JORC measured, indicated and inferred in-situ brine resource of 8.4m tonnes potassium sulphate (K2SO4). Rum Jungle intends to establish a 40,000 tpa sulphate of potash operation at a capital cost of below Australian dollar (A$) 80m ($57m*) and operating costs below A$300/tonne.

Rum Jungle will target the horticultural markets of southern and northern Australia, as well as Southeast Asia, with the produce from the site.

Norwegian chemical producer Yara International ASA, through its subsidiary Yara Dallol BV, has awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract to Canadian engineering and construction group SNC Lavalin Inc. for a greenfield potash mining and processing facility in the Dallol region in the northeast of Ethiopia.

SNC said that the site would incorporate solution mining as the method of extraction, with mineral recovery taking place in a 600,000 tpa sulphate of potash (SOP) plant.

The mine is projected to have a lifetime of around 20 years and additional resources have been identified in the eastern part of the deposit.

Construction at the site is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.

In phosphate news, ASX and AIM-listed Harvest Minerals Ltd has raised A$5m from institutional investors. The company placed 317.2m shares at A$0.02/share.

Harvest said that the proceeds from the placement would be largely used in the development of its Arapua phosphate fertiliser project in Brazil, where it noted that recent grab samples ranged from 5% to 24% phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5).

The company is also currently carrying out exploration programmes at its Sergi and Capela potash projects, also in Brazil.

Geolsoc Operations Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Korab Resources Ltd has entered into a heads of agreement deal for the offtake of 250,000 tonnes phosphate rock with DPA Oceania Pty Ltd.

The deal covers five annual loads of 50,000 tonnes from Geolsoc’s phosphate quarry near the town of Bachelor in Australia’s Northern Territory. The offtake will be used by DPA Oceania in the production of advanced cementitious and geo-polymer materials.

The agreement also provides for DPA Oceania to acquire up to a 50% stake in Geolsoc at a price of A$4m and its provision of assistance in expanding and operating the quarry.

Phosphate miner Minemakers Ltd, also ASX-listed, received approval from the Senegalese authorities to proceed with mining operations at its Baobab phosphate project in the Gadde Bissik basin.

The final governmental go-ahead was given to an environmental study and community support relocation plan, both submitted by the company.

Minemakers said it will now proceed with expenditure on key works and commitments for capital expenditure ahead of a planned mid-2016 start to commercial production.

Finally, the Government of Pakistan has extended the coverage of a Pakistani rupee (PRe) 20bn ($188m) fertiliser subsidy programme to include single super phosphate (SSP), according to reports by local news source, the Express Tribune.

A subsidy of PRe 196 ($1.84) per 50kg SSP will be granted to farmers until the overall package is exhausted. At the request of provincial governments, the grant will apply only to fertiliser manufactured using imported rock. The phosphate content of the material must be no less than 18%.

Diammonium phosphate (DAP) is already covered by a similar arrangment.

*Conversions made November 2015