IC Potash announces filing of prefeasability study for the Ochoa sulphate of potash project in New Mexico; company says study indicates annual full production capacity of 568,000 tons of SOP, 275,000 tons of SOPM
January 11, 2012
– IC Potash Corp. (TSX: ICP; OTCQX: ICPTF) (the "Company") is pleased to announce it has filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and the Company website (www.icpotash.com), a technical report dated December 30, 2011, entitled "NI 43-101 Technical Report Prefeasibility Study for the Ochoa Project Lea County, New Mexico." The technical report was prepared for ICP by Gustavson Associates, LLC of Colorado, a leading global mining consulting firm consisting of geologists and engineers.
The report includes a detailed analysis of the Ochoa project, including geology and mineralization, exploration and drilling, resources and reserves, mining methods, mineral processing and metallurgical testing, infrastructure, hydrology, environmental permitting, marketing, capital costs, operating costs, and project economics. Based on these and other detailed sections of the report, Gustavson has concluded that the results of this study warrant continued efforts to advance the Ochoa Project, and that the data and information presented justify further definition drilling, metallurgical testing, continued development and permitting, and preparation of a Feasibility Study.
Mr. Sidney Himmel, CEO of IC Potash, stated: "The completion and filing of our pre-feasibility, and the recommendations of Gustavson, provide us a high level of confidence that we have a world class project with immense commercial potential. We have been actively defining the Feasibility Study team and remain on track to achieve our near and long term objectives. I would like to personally thank all members of the prefeasibility team for their hard work and dedication displayed during the preparation of this report."
Project highlights from the prefeasibility study include:
Annual production at full capacity of 843,000 tons composed of 568,000 tons of SOP and 275,000 tons of SOPM.
Operating cost of $147 per ton of SOP and SOPM.
Projected full capacity capital cost of $706 million.
139 million tons of recoverable potash reserves in the proven and probable ore category within the 40-year mine plan, and an additional 205 million tons of recoverable potash reserves in the mine plan area not included in the 40 year economic model.
Construction planned to start in late 2013 upon completion of an environmental impact statement.
Preproduction construction period of 24 months (completion during the fourth quarter of 2015), with completion of a second train of crystallizers nine months following initial production.
Full production 18 months after plant start-up with production commencing in the fourth quarter of 2015 and full capacity reached in second quarter of 2017.
Underground mining rate varies with mine grade, with an average planned production rate of 3.5 million tons of ore per year at an average concentration ratio of 4.15:1.
Average metallurgical recovery estimated at 90 per cent.
SOP prices forecasted by CRU for the period 2015 to 2025
Economic highlights from the prefeasibility study include:
Internal rate of return on a before-tax basis of 32 per cent, on a 100-per-cent equity basis, and 26 per cent on an after-tax basis.
After-tax net present value of $1,286-million, using an after tax discount rate of 10 per cent and no debt.
Payback period from the commencement of production is 3.9 years after tax.
About IC Potash Corp.
ICP intends to become a primary producer of Sulphate of Potash ("SOP") and Sulphate of Potash Magnesia ("SOPM") by mining its 100%-owned Polyhalite Ochoa property in New Mexico, a highly advanced mineral deposit containing proven and probable reserves of more than 400 million tons of ore within the proposed mine plan. SOP is a non-chloride based potash fertilizer that sells at a substantial premium over the price of regular potash known as Muriate of Potash ("MOP"). MOP contains chloride and is therefore not the optimal potash for numerous crops and in situations where there is high soil salinity. ICP is focused on becoming the lowest cost producer of SOP in the world. The SOP market is towards six million tonnes per year. SOP is a significant fertilizer in the fruit, vegetable, tobacco, potato, and horticultural industries. SOP is also applicable in soils where there is substantial agricultural activity with varieties of crops and therefore where the salinity of the soil has increased, and in areas where soils are dry. SOPM is a highly desirable potash product for soils with magnesium deficiency, including those found in Europe and Southeast Asia and has a total global market size of over one million tonnes. ICP's Ochoa property consists of over 100,000 acres of federal subsurface potassium prospecting permits and State of New Mexico Potassium mining leases.