Back in June, Great Quest Metals changed its name to Great Quest Fertilizer (TSXV:GQ) in order to better reflect its focus on developing fertilizer projects in Africa. The company has stayed true to that mandate, as illustrated today with the sale of its Taseko copper-gold exploration property in British Columbia, Canada.
For Great Quest, Taseko was a “a legacy project within the company’s portfolio.” Though no NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate was completed for the property, various historic estimates suggest the potential for a sizeable in-situ copper-gold resource.
Granite Creek Gold (TSXV:GCX) has been conducting exploration at Taseko since 2011, and had an option to earn up to a 70-percent interest in the property. However, it announced today that it has returned the project to Great Quest, allowing that company to sell Taseko to Amarc Resources (TSXV:AHR) for $400,000.
Great Quest will retain a 2-percent royalty for Taseko, purchasable for $2 million once commercial production commences at the project.
Shifting towards Africa
As noted, Great Quest is focused on fertilizer projects in Africa. Specifically, it’s working on developing its Tilemsi phosphate project in Northeastern Mali and its Sua Pan brownfield potash project in Botswana, with the aim of moving towards local production of farm-ready fertilizers.
President and CEO Jed Richardson reiterated that aim in today’s press release, stating, “[w]e thank Amarc and Granite Creek for their attention in expediting this matter. The disposition of this BC project is in keeping with the Company’s focus on fertilizer in Africa and will contribute towards funding the environmental work for its phosphate production facility in Mali and scoping level engineering work for the proposed potash production facility in Botswana.”
The Tilemsi project features a 50-million-tonne inferred mineral resource over a drilled surface of 26 square kilometers. Great Quest completed a preliminary economic assessment for Tilemsi in 2013; it suggests a mine life of 20 years with initial CAPEX of $143 million and pre-operational costs of US$13 million.
In terms of why Great Quest is interested in Africa, the issue of food security looks to be a driving factor. The company definitely seems to have taken an interest in that social issue, as illustrated by its recent partnership with the Aga Khan network of development agencies.
In a similar vein, Great Quest simply sees growing market in Africa. In its June 2014 corporate presentation, the company cites the World Bank as stating that “Africa has the potential to create a trillion dollar food market.”
Oddly enough, Granite Creek is also aiming to focus across the Atlantic on projects in West Africa. For that reason, giving up the option on Taseko — allowing Great Quest to complete the sale — fit nicely with that company’s strategy as well. What’s more, Granite Creek no longer has to put up $1 million for exploration at the project by August 24, and will secure a 5-percent finder’s fee on Amarc’s $400,000 purchase, making the arrangement financially beneficial for both Great Quest and Granite Creek.
At close of day on Tuesday, shares of Great Quest Fertilizer were up 0.56 percent, trading at $1.81.
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.