Media Coverage: Inside Resources - Chatham Rock looking at overseas phosphate

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Chatham Rock looking at overseas phosphate while it waits to consent Chatham Rise

Eamon Rood - Wed, 21 Oct 2015

Chatham Rock Phosphate (CRP) is looking at overseas phosphate ventures while its Chatham Rise project remains on hold.

CRP’s focus is to supply direct application phosphate to agricultural users in local and overseas markets. It says this is proven to be significantly more environmentally friendly and sells at a premium in some markets despite lower production costs.

It says that getting the Chatham Rise project fully consented remains its main objective.

Chief executive Chris Castle says the company “is still very keen on the project.” However a decision has not been made whether to re-apply to the Environmental Projection Authority (EPA) for a marine consent to mine the Chatham Rise.

CRP is currently reviewing its previous application to the EPA. It has commissioned “a 360 degree review” from key players involved in the last application.

Castle says the company is watching closely how Trans-Tasman Resources does with its re-application bid in the Taranaki Bight.

A decision is expected to be made by March next year. If a re-application does go ahead, the company hopes to lodge the application the following June, with a view to commencing trial mining in September 2019.

Resolving disputes over costs with the EPA, and royalties with New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals, also remains an objective for the company.

Offshore resources

In the interim CRP is looking to diversify to include onshore phosphate resources overseas.

The company is not disclosing where these resources are located or exactly how many are being looked at as negotiations are ongoing. Castle told Inside Resources there are a number located in three different countries.

He says the company is working to lessen its dependence on the Chatham Rise project and “broaden our portfolio to make it more attractive to investors.”

The company describes the deposits as small, well located, low capital cost, “boutique” phosphate resources that it may take an ownership stake in.

If successful, developing the onshore resources can be achieved at lower capital costs and in a shorter timeframe, the company says. Target markets for the deposits are localised, making freight costs less of an issue. CRP may potentially take an ownership stake in the resources.

Capital raising

The company is pursuing capital raisings in New Zealand, Canada and Europe and aiming to complete its backdoor listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). It estimates the funding required to list on the TSX -  “while maintaining prudent yet sustainable forward momentum”  - to be about NZD$1 million - about $1000 for each existing shareholder.

Listing on the TSX is contingent on the company completing a merger with Antipodes Gold, which is already listed. CRP expects this to be approved by a meeting of Antipodes shareholders to be held in November.