Mining Licence Approved for the Khemisset Project
After Tuesday company announcement we took the opportunity to speak with Graham and another major milestone in the development for Emmerson.
Emmerson Plc, the Moroccan focused potash development company, is pleased to announce the receipt of the Mining Licence (“ML”) for its 100% owned Khemisset Potash Project (“Khemisset” or “the Project”) from the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and the Environment (“the “Ministry”). The ML provides the Company with the exclusive right to develop and mine the potash deposit, within the perimeter of the ML, in the Khemisset basin ahead of the anticipated initiation of construction by the end of 2021.
The grant of the Mining Licence follows a successful application process including the submission of a proven, JORC compliant, Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) and the confirmed technical and economic viability of the Project, which was satisfied by the Feasibility Study. In fact, the Feasibility Study highlighted Khemisset’s outstanding attributes including industry leading capital and operating costs and delivered an initial mine life of 19 years, based on less than 50% of the global resource base for the Project. Importantly, the ML encompasses the full resource base allowing simple expansion of the operations in the future without the requirement to re-permit.
To view the RNS with illustrative maps and diagrams please use the following link:
Graham Clarke, Emmerson’s CEO, commented :
“This is another major milestone in the development of what is to become the first large scale potash mine in Africa. We are grateful to the Ministry that provided considerable support, greatly assisting us throughout the application process.
“By producing up to 800,000 tonnes of potash per year, for export or domestic consumption, Khemisset is forecast to deliver considerable economic benefits to our stakeholders including an anticipated 1% increase to the national tax revenues of Morocco. At the local level, the benefit to our stakeholders is even more important, with an estimated 40% increase to the local area GDP.
“We are all extremely proud to have achieved this most recent milestone, with the help of an expert team focused on putting this potash mine into production. I want to thank our hosts in Morocco and all the key members of the Emmerson team who have worked hard to deliver this well ahead of our original timeline.
“We continue to make strong progress with our financing discussions, including engagement with several potential equity funding partners, and we look forward to delivering updates on this in the near future.”
Overview of Mining Licence
The ML covers an area of 558 km2 (refer to Figure 1) and covers all of the current MRE area, which has a global resource of over 500 million tonnes. Of the MRE, only 43% is included in the current 19-year mine life, identified in the Feasibility Study. Licencing the expanded area was an important strategic decision for the Company as it allows for future expansions or mine life extensions under the current permit.
Figure 1: Map Showing Mining Licence and MRE Area – See PDF
The grant process consisted of converting 22 Research Permits including the already fused Research Permit into a single ML and required detailed submissions confirming the mineral resources and viability of the exploitation plan. The Company retains the right to explore in the investigation permits covering the highly prospective ground around the ML, in particular the extensions to the north east of the Project.
The ML is valid for an initial 10-year period, which is renewable in 10-yr increments until the resource is exhausted and provides exclusive rights to extraction. Article 47 of the Mining Code 33-13 stipulates that: “The mining licence confers upon its holder the exclusive right to extract and/or develop mining products from an ore deposit in order to produce marketable mining products, namely through the use of studies, preparatory work, mining activities and/or enrichment and/or valorization operations, in addition to the installation of any infrastructure necessary to carry out these works”.
Notes to Editors
Emmerson’s primary focus is on developing the Project located in Northern Morocco. The Project has a large JORC Resource Estimate (2012) of 537Mt @ 9.24% K 2 O and significant exploration potential with an accelerated development pathway targeting a low capex, high margin mine. Khemisset is perfectly located to capitalise on the expected growth of African fertiliser consumption whilst also being located on the doorstep of European markets. This unique positioning means the Project will receive a premium netback price compared to existing potash producers. The need to feed the world’s rapidly increasing population is driving demand for potash and Emmerson is well placed to benefit from the opportunities this presents. The Feasibility Study released in June 2020 indicated Khemisset has the potential to be among the lowest capital cost development stage potash projects in the world and also, as a result of its location, one of the highest margin projects. This delivered outstanding economics including a post-tax NPV 8 of approximately US$1.4 billion using industry expert, Argus’, price forecasts.
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