Kore Potash: Half Year Report
Kore Potash, the potash exploration and development company whose flagship asset is the Kola Project (“Kola” or the “Project”), located within the Company’s 97%-owned Sintoukola Potash Project in the Republic of Congo, is pleased to provide its financial statements for the half year ended 30 June 2019 (the “Period”).
The full report is available on the Company’s website at http://www.korepotash.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Half-Year-Report-June-2019.pdf.
- A Scoping Study for a low capital cost, high cash margin potash project at Dougou Extension (“DX”) was completed and a summary of results released on 29 April 2019. These results indicated that following a 2-year construction period DX could potentially produce 400 ktpa MoP for 17 years at an operating cost of USD83/t FOB. In addition, the Company finalised planning for a Pre-feasibility Study on the DX Project.
- The Company has now commenced a Pre-feasibility Study on the DX Project. More than 60km of seismic survey lines have been cleared in advance of the 2D Seismic survey commencing before mid-September and drill rigs are currently being assembled on site ahead of the commencement of the PFS drilling programme. Key technical studies have commenced, and dissolution test work being undertaken in Agapito Laboratory in Grand Junction, USA Saskatchewan, has been completed.
- The Company completed its review of the Kola Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) and released a summary of results to Shareholders on 29 January 2019. This included the reporting of:
- Proved and Probable Ore Reserves for the Kola Deposit totalling 152.4Mt with an average grade of 32.5%KCl.
- Post-tax, NPV10 (real) of USD 1,452 million and a real ungeared Internal Rate of Return of 17% on an attributable basis at life-of-mine average MoP prices for granular of USD 360 per tonne CFR Brazil and standard of USD 350 per tonne CFR Brazil.
- The Company received an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) proposal for its Kola Project from the consortium of French engineering companies (“FC”) on 23 March 2019.
- Post period end, in July 2019, the Company received a proposal from the FC that identifies opportunities to reduce the capital cost of the Kola project by USD415 million below that indicated in the Kola DFS and optimisation discussions are planned to continue.
- The Minister of Environment of the RoC reviewing the amended Kola environmental and social impact assessment (the “ESIA”) requested the submission be reformatted into separate volumes and resubmitted. The re-submission, which doesn’t require significant variations, is planned to occur during Q3 of 2019.
- Cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, at 30 June 2019 was USD1,725,129. Post period end, on 19 July 2019, an additional USD13,123,561 was raised through the placing and direct subscription of new ordinary shares in the Company.
- Loss for the period ended 30 June 2019 reduced by USD3,394,007 from USD4,570,790 for the period ended 30 June 2018 to USD1,176,783 driven primarily by lower administration expenses, lower equity compensation benefits and listing and re-domicile expenses incurred in H1 2018.
- Exploration and evaluation asset at 30 June 2019 was USD153,374,657 an increase of USD3,511,334 from USD149,863,323 at 31 December 2018.
Dougou Extension Sylvinite Scoping Study
- A Scoping Study on the potential for a low capital cost, high cash margin potash project at the DX sylvinite deposit was completed.
- The Scoping Study considers the extraction of sylvinite from DX by a solution mining method over an initial life of 17 years that depletes 43% of the Indicated Mineral Resources at DX.
- The full details of the Scoping Study were released on 29 April 2019 and highlights include:
- Attractive life-of-mine cost of sales, free on board (FOB) of approximately USD82.74/t MoP.
- Estimated base case initial capital cost of approximately USD327 million (real 2019) to produce approximately 400 ktpa white granular MoP.
- Estimated two-year construction period provides the company with near term production options.
- Base case real ungeared IRR of approximately 19.3% and base case post-tax ungeared NPV10 (real) of approximately USD221 million on an attributable basis at life-of-mine average MoP price for granular product of USD360/t.
- Average base case annual post construction, post-tax, free cash flow of approximately USD74 million and approximately 4.25 years post-tax payback period from first production.
- Infrastructure overlaps with the Kola sylvinite and Dougou carnallite projects will have a positive impact on the future development costs and construction timeframes of those two projects.
- During the quarter, the Company finalised planning for a Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) on the DX project. The PFS work programme includes a 2D seismic survey, a 4-hole diamond drill programme and a series of technical studies that collectively should satisfy the requirements for a pre-feasibility study. The prefeasibility study is scheduled for completion in April 2020.
Dougou Extension Sylvinite Pre-Feasibility Study
- The Pre-feasibility work programme on the DX sylvinite deposit has commenced.
- The major components of the PFS include a 2D Seismic survey programme, a 4 hole diamond drill programme and a series of technical and trade off studies.
- Clearing of more than 60km of survey lines in advance of commencement of the 2D seismic survey has been completed.
- The drill rigs are being assembled and made ready for commencement of the drilling programme.
- Technical consultants have been appointed for each area of the PFS.
- Dissolution test work undertaken at Agapito Laboratory in Grand Junction, USA, has been completed.
- The pre-feasibility study is scheduled for completion in April 2020.
The Kola Potash Project
- The Company completed its review of the Kola DFS and released a summary of results to Shareholders on 29 January 2019. The announcement made on 29 January 2019, which is available on the Company’s website, included the following highlights from the Kola DFS:
Business case highlights potential of the Kola asset
- Post-tax, NPV10 (real) of USD1,452 million and a real ungeared Internal Rate of Return of 17% on an attributable basis at life-of-mine average MoP prices for granular of USD360 per tonne CFR Brazil and standard of USD350 per tonne CFR Brazil.
- Operating cash margin averaging 75%.
- Average annual EBITDA of approximately USD585 million.
- 24% annual free cash return on invested capital.
- Average annual free cash flow, post-tax, post commissioning of approximately USD500 million.
- 4.3-year post-tax payback period from first production.
Industry leading operating costs and cost of sales
- Mine gate operating cost (pre-transhipment) averaging USD61.71 per tonne, which is in the lowest cost quartile globally based on equivalent CRU market data.
- Kola forecast to be the lowest cost potash supplier CFR Brazil based on CRU market data.
- Average cost of MoP delivered to Brazil of USD102.47 per tonne.
Long life and high quality asset
- Nameplate production target of 2.2 Mtpa MoP over a 33 year life, with a scheduled life of 23 years based primarily on Ore Reserves and including 6% Inferred Mineral Resource and a further 10 years based entirely on Inferred Mineral Resources (in each case, reported in accordance with the JORC Code).
- There is a low level of geological confidence associated with inferred mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the determination of indicated mineral resource or that the production target itself will be realised.
- Kola Project Ore Reserves of 152.4 Mt with average KCl grade of 32.5%, reported in accordance with the JORC Code.
Capital program aligned with industry averages
- Pre-production capital cost of USD2.1 billion (on EPCM basis) which includes USD110 million contingency, USD106 million of escalation and USD89 million EPCM margin.
- Pre-production capital intensity of USD956 per tonne MoP annual capacity is in second quartile relative to MoP industry peers and suggests that further capital optimisation is possible.
- 46-month construction period, with a commencement date to be determined following advancement of construction contract negotiations and project financing.
- Review of the DFS by Kore and its third party independent consultants identified opportunities to further improve and optimise the project indicating that the work completed to date by the FC has not fully optimised the Kola Project.
- As previously reported, due to high operating margin and high free cash return on invested capital, financial advisors indicated that the project has a debt carrying potential of up to USD1.4 billion.
- As part of the DFS, Ore Reserves were estimated for the Kola sylvinite Deposit. The combined total Ore Reserves are 152 Mt of sylvinite grading 32.5% KCl, hosted within 3 layers (‘seams’). Details of the Ore Reserve estimate are provided in the market announcement dated 29 January 2019.
- The Company received the EPC proposal from the FC on 23 March 2019.
- The Company continued discussions with the FC to explore options to reduce the capital cost and shorten the construction schedule for Kola.
- In July 2019, the Company received a proposal from the FC that identifies opportunity to reduce the capital cost of the Kola project by USD415M below that indicated in the Kola DFS.
- Kola project optimisation discussions are planned to continue with the FC.
- The Company has invited a number of international engineering and construction companies to provide pricing against the bills of quantities for the Kola project. It is anticipated that this pricing information will be received by the Company in Q3 2019. Receipt of this competitive pricing information forms part of the Company’s plan for capital optimisation of the Kola project.
Environmental and social impact assessment for Kola (“ESIA”)
- The Minister of Environment of the Republic of the Congo previously requested the Company to reformat the amended Kola ESIA document. No further technical studies or report content are required. During the quarter, further discussions with the regulator took place to clarify their requirements and the amended Kola ESIA is now planned to be submitted for approval in Q3 2019.
Mining Convention and Research Convention
- The Company continues to engage with the RoC Government on the implementation of commitments contained within the Mining Convention. This includes the intra-group transfer of the Dougou Mining License from Sintoukola Potash S.A. to the operating entity Dougou Potash Mining S.A. and the transfer of a 10% shareholding in Kola Potash Mining S.A. and Dougou Potash Mining S.A. to the State.
- The Company further progressed discussion with the Government on terms and conditions for a Mining Research Convention covering the Sintoukola 2 exploration license. This convention is required to be negotiated in advance of any exploration activity.
On 19 July 2019, an additional $13,123,561 was raised through the placing and direct subscription of new ordinary shares in the Company. The Directors also actively manage the liquidity position of the Group and prepare cash flow forecasts on a regular basis. Based on the most up-to-date information the Group is forecast to have sufficient liquidity to meet its working capital requirements to the end of the going concern period, which is 12 months from signing of these interim results, and accordingly the Group’s financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis.
Kore Potash, an interview with CEO Brad Sampson
Kore is focused on the development of Potash deposits which are located on the coastline of the Republic of the Congo. The projects are permitted, they have mining conventions in place with the government, and there is a clear pathway to production. Sucessful development of Kore’s assets will position the company as the lowest cost potash provider to its target markets in Brazil and the African continent.
The world’s population is growing and the amount of land available for Agriculture is in decline, so an increase in crop yields has been required in order to feed the world’s population. This has led to an increase in demand for NPK fertilisers, which until recently have been produced in the Northern Hemisphere – some distance from the demand centres in Africa and Brazil. Kore’s position on the coastline of the Republic of the Congo will allow short and cheap transport to these growing markets.
Dougou Extension Project (DX Project)
The DX project is a deposit which Kore identified last year, and is one of the worlds highest grade Potash deposits. It sits on one of Kore’s existing mining licenses, and is governed by a mining convention which has already been negotiated with the Republic of the Congo. The project requires low capital costs in order to begin production, and is designed using simple and low risk extraction and processing techniques. The project also has a short pathway to production and cash generation.
Kore received an EPC for the Kola project in the early part of 2019. This project has a larger capital cost as extracting the resource will require underground drilling & shaft methods. The average operating cash margin is expected to be 75%, the payback period a little over 4 years with a project lifespan of 33 years. Kore have identified several areas where production costs can be reduced, and Kore plan to spend the near future talking with engineeers and industry partners to design a cost efficient strategy. CEO Brad Simpson feels that planning in the short term will produce benefits for shareholders in the long term.
Kore Potash PLC Investor Videos