The province of New Brunswick has partnered with Arianne Phosphate –the developer of the Lac à Paul project in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region – to study the feasibility of building a phosphoric acid plant in Belledune, the development-stage phosphate mining company announced this week.
Through Opportunities New Brunswick, the province will provide a financial contribution towards the cost of a prefeasibility study – the next step in Arianne's assessment of its downstream opportunity.
"Over the last year, Arianne has been reviewing the possibility of vertically integrating its own phosphate rock production into a facility to produce phosphoric acid," said Arianne CEO Brian Ostroff.
"Our work to date has been positive and, especially with the industry now recovering from a five-year slump, it makes sense to move the idea to the next step, a prefeasibility study. We are in an enviable position. By having our own phosphate rock, we have the flexibility of either being a seller of our rock to those who need it or, going downstream and capturing that additional margin ourselves."
After the review of several locations Arianne believes that Belledune, in New Brunswick, would be a strong location to construct a plant. Most of the crucial infrastructure is already in place, namely a port that has the additional capacity to handle our operation, access to a skilled labour force, easy-access to some of the other necessary ingredients beyond Arianne's phosphate rock and, a strong willingness of would-be stakeholders to see this project advance.
Arianne has already been working with the various groups that will be involved in the study, many of them local to New Brunswick. Once finalised, the prefeasibility study is expected to take about five months.