Kola potash project, Congo-Brazzaville – update

25th August 2023 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Kola potash project, Congo-Brazzaville – update

Photo by: © Bloomberg

Name of the Project
Kola potash project.

Sintoukola basin, Congo-Brazzaville.

Project Owner/s
Potash development company Kore Potash has a 97% ownership of the Kola and Dougou (DX) potash projects in the Sintoukola basin.

Project Description
Kore Potash completed a definitive feasibility study (DFS) in 2019, in which it proposed the production of about 2.2-million tonnes a year of muriate of potash (MoP). This is based on a mine life of 33 years comprising 23 production years, exploiting ore reserves of 152.4-million tonnes and 9.7-million tonnes of inferred mineral resources, and an additional ten production years exploiting 70-million tonnes of the remaining inferred mineral resources.

Total MoP production has decreased from 2.2-million tonnes a year in the 2019 DFS to 2.14-million tonnes a year in the 2022 optimisation study.

The optimisation study estimates a 31-year mine life, which includes 25 production years exploiting ore reserves of 152.4-million tonnes, together with 9.7-million tonnes of inferred mineral resources, and an additional six production years exploiting 49-million tons of the remaining inferred mineral resources.

The Kola orebody is planned to be mined using conventional underground mechanised methods, extracting the ore within ‘panels’ using continuous miner equipment of the drum-cutting type. Mine access will be provided through two 270-m-deep vertical shafts, each 8 m in diameter. The shafts will be sunk near the centre of the orebody.

Underground access will be provided through equipping the intake shaft with a hoist and cage system to transport persons and material.

The exhaust shaft will be equipped with a pocket lift conveyor system to continuously convey the mined-out ore to the surface.

Ore from underground will be transported to the process plant by a 24-km-long overland conveyor. A conventional potash flotation plant with a maximum design capacity of 2.24-million tons a year of MoP has been designed for the project. As a result of the low insolubles content, no separate process circuit will be required to extract insoluble material. The final MoP product will then be transported 11 km by conveyor belt from the process plant to the marine export facility at the coast.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The optimisation study estimates an ungeared after-tax net present value (NPV), at a 10% discount rate, of $1.62-billion and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 20%, compared with an NPV, at a 10% discount rate, of $1.42-billion and an IRR of 17.2% in the DFS.

Capital Expenditure
The capital cost of the project is estimated at $2.1-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The construction period has been reduced from 46 months in the DFS to 40 months in the optimisation study.

Latest Developments
Kore Potash has received a letter of support from the Congo-Brazzaville Ministry of Mines regarding the company’s development of the project. The Ministry has also pledged its support for Kore to develop the Dougou potash project, for which Kore first published a scoping study in February 2015.

Kore chairperson David Hathorn has said the successful development of globally important potash projects, such as Kola, requires sustained support from all stakeholders, including government, particularly with respect to the timeframe and scale of international investment required to develop a potash industry.

He has added that the Kola deposit, in particular, needs to be developed to play its role in feeding the world’s population. “Its successful development will have a material contribution towards the sustained development of Congo-Brazzaville."

The Ministry has acknowledged that some of the development objectives for Kola, as outlined in the Mining Convention, have not yet been met. The Ministry has assured its steadfast support, in the form of a moral guarantee, to assist in addressing any remaining challenges to completing the financing of Kola.

It has also reaffirmed the validity of the company’s mining tenement titles and the Mining Convention, which is the operating agreement between Kore and government.

The Ministry has encouraged Kore’s shareholders to continue supporting the company without hesitation.

Kore intends to maintain high levels of ongoing dialogue with the Ministry over the coming months as the financing of the Kola project is finalised.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Met-Chem DRA Global (mineral resource estimate); and SRK Consulting (environmental- and social-impact assessment).

Contact Details for Project Information
Tavistock, on behalf of Kore Potash, tel +44 207 920 3150 or email kore@tavistock.co.uk.