TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Canada's Western Potash Corp (WPC) is looking for a buyer for its potash project in Saskatchewan, and has identified 22 parties that could be interested, corporate development VP John Costigan said in Toronto this week.
Building a new potash mine is a costly and time-consuming business, which is something that the junior company believes is best left to others, he said.
The firm has only had talks with two potential buyers from its hot list to date, but talks so far have been “very fruitful”, Costigan said at an investment seminar hosted by Proactive Investors.
The process will likely accelerate once the company comes out next month with a scoping study for its flagship Milestone solution-mining project.
There are “several interested parties” waiting for the outcome of the scoping study and, once it is ready, WPC plans to begin marketing efforts in earnest, particularly in Europe and Asia, Costigan said.
The global potash industry is closely held, but a number of large miners, including the two biggest – BHP Billiton and Vale– have made it clear that they want to become serious producers of the crop nutrient.
BHP Billiton bought another Canadian junior, Athabasca Potash, earlier this year, and both BHP and Vale have property adjacent to the Milestone project.
WPC published a new NI 43-101 resource estimate in June, in which it outlined 41-million tons of measured resource, 133-million tons of indicated resource, and 560-million tons of inferred resource.
The project has a potash resource to support production of three-million tons a year for some 50 years, Costigan said.
Environmental baseline studies and environmental-impact assessment work are under way, and the company is also looking at ways to reduce energy costs by cogeneration or alternative power sources.
It has been more than three decades since a new potash mine started production in Canada.
Shares in WPC slid 2,27% on Wednesday, to C$0,43 apiece by 15:44 in Toronto.
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