6 March 2013
Chatham Rock Phosphate is moving rapidly towards its target of production in 2015, Chief Executive Chris Castle told a New Zealand Government-hosted function at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto.
PDAC is the pre-eminent annual event for the international mining community.
CRP holds a prospecting licence over 4726 sq km of ocean 450 km offshore in the New Zealand EEZ containing a well defined deposit of 25 million tonnes of medium grade rock phosphate.
“The in-situ value of this deposit is roughly $US4.3 billion. Our estimated recovery costs for life of mine are roughly $US2.3 billion in present dollars. So in simple terms the project could over time potentially earn $US2 billion.”
Mr Castle told guests the company had made remarkable progress over the past year. In the two years after being granted the licence in February 2010 CRP raised about $US3 million of the $US25 million it needs. But in the past year, it has raised another $US15 million in difficult market conditions.
“Most of this has been very actively invested in the project, leading to the mining licence application in September 2012 and the imminent application for the environmental consent.
“The market value of the company is now $40 million. We have signed contracts with Boskalis as our “contract miner’, which is now well advanced on the design process and Boskalis also became a shareholder. We have three new cornerstone investors (Subsea, Boskalis and Odyssey Marine), shareholder numbers have increased 50 per cent and a visible and positive profile in New Zealand due to our extensive stakeholder communications programme.”
Mr Castle said already in 2013 CRP has appointed three new directors. Other expected milestones will be filing an environmental impact assessment in the second quarter of the year.
“We also expect that our proposed overseas listing will finally occur and we expect to finalise further contract arrangements with Boskalis in the next few months.”
Mr Castle attributed some of the company’s rapid progress to fortuitous meetings at a variety of conferences and industry meetings.
“We met the right people at the right time, mostly by going to conferences.” These included meeting Boskalis and other leading dredging companies, Odyssey Marine and through that company Subsea Minerals. Key individuals include Cam McKenzie of Kenex, Robert Goodden (now a director) and Najib Moutia (now sales and strategy vice president).
Mr Castle commended NZP&M and GNS Science for showcasing to the mining world at PDAC what New Zealand has to offer in the way of mineral development opportunities. “This includes access to historical information, a new legislative regime, a can-do attitude from officials, and a government that really, really wants to put some mineral development runs on the board.
“I’ve been at the NZP&M/GNS Science booth for quite a bit of the time during the last two days and it’s obvious that there is quite a bit of interest in what we have to offer. We just need to build on that. Casual contacts often lead somewhere.“
During his overseas trip Mr Castle has also met with senior managers at OCP, the Moroccan supplier of most of New Zealand’s rock phosphate, and attended an international fertiliser conference in Egypt.
Chris Castle – +64 21 55 81 85 or email@example.com