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Emmerson pleased with innovative processing method to be used at Morocco project

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24th May 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Aim-listed potash development company Emmerson’s main priority at this time is obtaining environmental approval for the Khemisset project, in Morocco.

The company advises that a scoping study published in February identifies a novel processing route for the project, called the Khemisset multimineral process, which reduces the site’s environmental impact.

Notably, the processing technique can cut water consumption by 50% and eliminate the need to dispose of brines. This not only improves the economics of the project but also addresses concerns about water use.

Seasonal rains have become less reliable in the country, resulting in droughts in recent years and low water levels in reservoirs and aquifers.

Following a $2.5-million fundraise undertaken in April, the company remains funded to progress work at Khemisset while awaiting for approval on its environmental- and social-impact assessment (ESIA).

Emmerson resubmitted its ESIA application to the Commission Régionale Unifiée d'Investissement in April, incorporating the latest optimisations of the planned processing plant.

“We hope we are now in the final stages of the approval process, which has taken far longer than initially envisaged, and involved considerable additional work and iterations,” says chairperson James Kelly.

The Khemisset project is set to operate for 19 years from a 537-million-tonne resource, grading 9.24% potassium oxide, with exploration potential.

The updated financial estimates published in the scoping study in February indicate a net present value for the project of $2.2-billion, with an internal rate of return of about 40%.

The new processing approach will allow for a lower capital cost of $525-million to build the project, down from $539-million previously, as well as higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $440-million a year, up from $258-million a year initially.

“In what have been challenging financial markets, with modest potash prices, it is important that new greenfield projects stand out. Khemisset incorporates an innovative, patent-pending processing method, which allows mixed potash ore types to be processed in a highly efficient manner, creating multi-nutrient fertilisers as by-products.

“No other potash project in the world can make such a claim, nor be as efficient with freshwater use,” Kelly states.

CEO Graham Clarke adds that Khemisset is a unique project in that it will produce fertilisers containing potash, phosphates and ammonia, as well as magnesium and iron from one processing plant.

He says once the environmental approval is in place, the company will move to complete remaining studies on the project and publish an updated bankable feasibility study based on the original 2020 feasibility study, including all optimisations and revised estimates.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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