Chatham Rock Phosphate beneficiation tests yield promising results

18 October 2012 

Tests to beneficiate the rock phosphate extracted by Chatham Rock Phosphate are encouraging.

Beneficiation is a process to raise the level of phosphate in the rock that can increase its value. It also extends its variety of uses and the types of fertiliser that can be manufactured.

Scientists at Victoria University working under contract for CRP have already succeeded in beneficiating the rock from 21.6% to 28.5% P205. These studies are continuing.

Chief Executive Chris Castle said the results of the laboratory tests are very encouraging.

“This should result in an increased sales value for the beneficiated rock.  It would mean more of it can it could be used to make superphosphate than we have been assuming to date, and it would increase export reach and hence revenues.”

Mr Castle said a number of fertiliser companies, both in New Zealand and overseas, are being asked to assess the attractiveness and feasibility of using CRP’s beneficiated rock.  

“The next step is to scope the cost of achieving this value increase on a commercial scale.

“If the cost of beneficiation is attractive relative to the increase in value of the product we will embark on a full feasibility study to build a beneficiation plant. Such a plant would create a number of jobs and have a significant positive influence on the New Zealand economy above and beyond the base case benefit of $1.3 billion.”

CRP’s rock phosphate in its organic state is highly regarded as a product with many environmental benefits.  When directly applied to pastures after being crushed and spread it is at least as effective as super phosphate, while significantly reducing run off into waterways.  It also has slow release properties that last for several years and is prized as having very low levels of the heavy metal cadmium.

Chris Castle – +64 21 55 81 85 or