Potash News: Oro Blanco Looking to Sell SQM Shares

- November 16th, 2015

Highfield Resources, Elemental Minerals and Gensource Potash have also released news this month.

An indirect controller of fertilizer company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQMannounced last week that it has hired an investment bank to explore options to sell part or all of its shares in the company. Holding company Oro Blanco is a majority shareholder in Pampa Calichera, which owns 20 percent of SQM.
The decision is unsurprising given the legal battles SQM has faced this year, including allegations of unlawful political contributions and tax fraud by former chairman Julio Ponce, who stepped down in April. The company is also facing the possibility of losing its land concessions after Chilean investment agency Corfo claimed that SQM underpaid contracts and sold products at below-market prices.
According to Reuters, Oro Blanco has signed with Banco Itau Argentina to “analyze strategic alternatives in relation to its shares in Socieded de Inversions Pampa Calichera and search for third parties that would have interest in said shares.”

Company news

While the potash space has been fairly quiet this month, a few companies have put out potash news in recent weeks. For instance, this week Highfield Resources (ASX:HFR) reported significant progress in construction preparation at its Muga potash project.
The company said it has optimized operational efficiencies, as well as sales and marketing activities, and has increased the project’s mine life from 24 to 47 years at a production rate of 1.08 million tonnes of K60 granular muriate of potash per year. Meanwhile, the project’s NPV10 has increased from US$1.42 billion to US$1.46 billion, while its NPV8 has increased from US$1.80 billion to US$2.04 billion.
Additionally, proven and probable reserves have increased by 73 percent, from 146 million tonnes at an average grade of 12.7 percent K2O, to 253 million tonnes with an average grade of 11.5 percent.
“We have had a very productive six-month period, taking our Muga Mine from a DFS to a mine ready to be built and operated. Our initiatives have resulted in a doubling of mine life, as well as a mine which will be significantly better to operate long–term. We have factored in expansion to our Muga Mine design and also have further mine life potential that sits in our substantial Muga Project Exploration Target,” Highfield Managing Director Anthony Hall said in a press release.
Last week, Elemental Minerals (ASX:ELM) provided a progress update for testwork for the bankable feasibility study (BFS) for its Kola sylvinite project and announced the completion of a testwork drill hole for the Dougou carnallite project prefeasibility study (PFS). Drill hole ED_05 at Dougou intersected a total of 36 meters of carnallitite within the four main potash layers.
“The thick potash intersections in ED_05 at Dougou are typical of this exceptionally simple and continuous deposit; a combined thickness of 36 metres of flat-lying high grade carnallitite. The commencement of the Kola shaft drillhole is on time, so we are on schedule for the delivery of the Kola BFS and Dougou PFS,” Elemental CEO John Sanders said in a press release.
Earlier this month, Gensource Potash (TSXV:GSP) closed a non-brokered private placement for $495,220 through the sale of 7,074,571 non-flow-through shares at $0.07 per share.
 
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Related reading:
TSX- and TSXV-listed Potash Companies
Potash and Phosphate Companies Securing Funds Despite Difficult Market

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