PERTH (miningweekly.com) – An updated enhanced definitive feasibility study (eDFS) on the Fort Cady borate mine, in Southern California, has been undertaken in an effort to bring forward planned sulphate of potash (SoP) development.
The updated eDFS built on the eDFS completed in April of last year, which, in turn, built on an earlier DFS that broke the project into three phases.
The starter project would target a production rate of 40 000 t/y SoP and 9 000 t/y of boric acid, increasing to 90 000 t/y SoP and 80 000 t/y boric acid during Phase 1B.
The Phase 2 project would ultimately increase production to 109 000 t/y of SoP and 408 000 t/y of boric acid, while the Phase 3 development would push production to 400 000 t/y of SoP and 450 000 t/y of boric acid.
ASX-listed American Pacific Borate (ABR) on Thursday said that the updated eDFS was targeted at bringing forward some 40 000 t of SoP production to the 2023 calendar year, and found that it would reduce the Phase 1B capital cost from $156-million to $34.2-million, while increasing the targeted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for 2023 from $20.2-million to $45.9-million.
While decreasing the expected Phase 1B capital cost by $121.8-million, the project’s total capital cost has increased by $104.7-million, to $842.6-milllion in the updated eDFS, while the project’s net present value has increased by $50-million, to $2.02-billion, and its internal rate of return by 1.2%, to 40.6%.
ABR told shareholders on Thursday that the initial production of boric acid from the Fort Cady project remained on track for the third quarter of 2021, with SoP production to follow shortly thereafter.