Key Highlights of the Technical Report (all figures denominated in U.S. dollars and U.S. short tons):
- Surface mine with conventional crushing, roasting, leaching and crystallization processes;
- Proven and probable mineral reserves of 153 million tons; reserves support a 46-year project life;
- An average of 255,000 tons of potassium sulphate per annum during first 10 years of operation after ramp-up; life of mine average of 232,000 tons of potassium sulphate per annum;
- Flexible process capable of producing both crystalline soluble and granular potassium sulphate to meet market conditions;
- Installed potassium sulphate capital cost of $458 million;
- Expected to be the lowest cost producer of potassium sulphate in North America: average net cash operating costs after by-product sulphuric acid credits of $172/ton of potassium sulphate (exclusive of royalties), which includes approximately $40/ton in transportation costs;
- Unlevered after tax internal rate of return of 20.1%, based on assumed price of $675/ton for potassium sulphate and $115/ton for sulphuric acid in 2020 and 2% inflation;
- Strong earnings potential: average operating margin of $135 million per annum during first 10 years of operation after ramp-up; life of mine average of $172 million per annum;
- Strong cash flow generation: average after tax cash flow of $107 million per annum during first 10 years of operation after ramp-up; life of mine average of $128 million per annum;
- Project after tax net present value of $482 million using a 10% discount rate:
- No terminal value added to the NPV, which assumes no extension to life of operations;
- Potential upside in economics through:
- Expansion of initial production rate;
- Possible monetization of the residual waste material given its high concentrations of alumina.
This Technical Report is based on an initial annual production rate of potassium sulphate of approximately 40% of the annual production rate contemplated in the previous Technical Report dated December 2, 2013 by Norwest Corporation (the “2013 Technical Report”), while maintaining robust economic returns. Potash Ridge remains dedicated to developing Blawn Mountain to the originally contemplated production rate and views this initial production level as a means to provide the best economic returns to all stakeholders.
Based on the recommendations from the Technical Report, Potash Ridge intends to undertake additional metallurgical testing to determine the most economic means to extract alumina from the residual waste material.