GrowMax Agri Corp. - Potash, Phosphate and other Minerals
GrowMax Agri Corp's large concession in the Sechura desert in northern Peru on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, offers a unique opportunity to exploit a potash-rich brine resource and near surface phosphate deposit in addition to other minerals. Potash and phosphate are essential commodities for fertilizer in the global market.
To date, GrowMax has drilled 32 boreholes which confirm the potash-rich brine presence over a substantial area. The results support the earlier historical work from the 1960’s by Kaiser Chemical. GrowMax’s immediate objective is to bring into production a plant capable of 250,000 tons per year of potash.
There are near surface deposits of phosphate in the Company’s southernmost Blocks adjacent to Vale’s large surface phosphate mine (Vale's four-million-ton-per-year phosphate development is now in production).
An initial 15 boreholes drilling program for phosphate has been completed in Block 7 and preliminary resource estimates calculated. An additional 20 boreholes will be drilled in 2012 and the Company has applied to drill up to 200 boreholes on Blocks 7 and 8. Recently 120 trenches were dug and identified the presence of shallow phosphate layers which are contained within the shallow Zapayal formation.
Other Valuable Minerals
Simultaneously, we are investigating the feasibility of producing other valuable minerals. The Bayovar brines have been chemically analyzed and contain other valuable minerals including bromine, magnesium and gypsum). GrowMax is currently evaluating plans for the recovery of these resources. Another valuable product is sodium chloride (salt). Salt is a commodity which has many uses (over 14,000 applications including de-icing, food processing, pharmaceuticals and water conditioning as well as a feedstock to the chlor-alkali industry.
We acquired the rights from the Peruvian government to this large concession (821 square kilometers, 202,600 acres) and entered into an agreement with the local community for right of surface access for 33 years (option to extend to 100 years).
The Company’s concession is uniquely situated near existing and expanding infrastructure, including first class roads, deep water ports, and airports as well as electricity, gas and fresh water supply. The Pan American highway is immediately adjacent to the eastern margin of the Company’s concession and cuts across the extreme northeastern corner of the property. Towns and universities provide access to professional and labor markets. The desert environment has easy access for construction and year round operations.
This concession is ideally located in relation to the large and growing potash/phosphate/fertilizer markets of Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and other Latin American countries, as well as the principal Asian markets of China and India and North America.
Initial exploration of the concession was conducted in the 1960's by Kaiser Chemical. This early undertaking included the drilling, sampling, coring and logging of numerous boreholes. The construction of a pilot plant, using solar evaporation processing proved to be successful in recovering the primary resource objective, high quality potash (> 99% potassium chloride (KCl)). The historical database has been acquired by GrowMax in its entirety and the pilot plant still exists in a condition which is presently being brought up to production standard. Significantly, GrowMax has been able to recruit two of the key engineering personnel who had supervisory responsibilities of the pilot plant.
GrowMax has assembled a team of professionals with experience in all aspects of mineral recovery. This includes solar evaporation processing of brines, chemical analyses of brines, reserves evaluation and construction and operation of solar evaporation facilities. The Company has established an office and research lab (through its wholly owned subsidiary Americas Potash Peru SA) in Piura, Peru, 20 kilometers from the potash concession.
Ercosplan is an independent consulting firm, considered the world leader in the potash and mineral salts industry. GrowMax has engaged this company to prepare the resource estimate for the NI 43-101 Report.
Solar Evaporation Processing
Given its unique location, 6 degrees south of the equator, the climate of the Sechura Desert provides ideal heat and wind for solar evaporation processing. The success of this method was demonstrated in the pilot plant which recovered potash in the form of potassium chloride (KCl) and potassium sulphate (K2SO4, a higher priced form of potash in a fast growing market segment). The advantage of solar evaporation lies in its lower operating and capital cost structure and its extremely low carbon footprint which will generate carbon credits.
Highlights of GrowMax's Bayovar potash brine project:
- Experienced Team - GrowMax has a seasoned team of professionals with experience in reserves evaluation, mineral recovery including recovery of potash applying solar evaporation processing of brines, chemical analysis of brines, and engineering and construction of solar processing facilities.
- Solar Evaporation Processing - GrowMax's Bayovar potash brine project will utilize solar evaporation processing of mineral rich brines, given its unique location 6 degrees south of the equator in the Sechura Desert on the Pacific Ocean. This location provides the ideal amount of sun and wind for solar evaporation processing.
- Near Surface Phosphate Deposits -The commercial potential for harvesting near surface phosphate is currently being evaluated with an extensive drilling program on our two southern most blocks, with plans for drilling up to 200 wellbores.
- Large Concession Area - GrowMax has rights to four concessions with a total area of 202,000 acres (82,000 hectares or 820 square kilometers).
- Secure Surface Rights - The mineral and surface rights within the 202,000 acre (82,000 hectare or 820 sq. km.) concession have been secured.
- Transportation Infrastructure Advantages - GrowMax's project has a nearby container and bulk terminal for export to offshore markets in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf. Also, primary highways (including the Pan American) run nearby or cross GrowMax's project, connecting Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, and Panama to North Americas.
- Accessible Markets - GrowMax's potash plant will serve fertilizer market demand within Peru and in surrounding countries such as Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil and has 2 nearby ports for export to markets in Asia such as India and China.
- Low Capex and Low Opex - Relative to other potash projects, GrowMax's surface brine potash project will involve low operating costs and low capital investment, given that it will apply solar evaporation processing and its proximity to infrastructure including paved roads, fresh water, power, gas and port facilities.
- New Pilot Plants - GrowMax has constructed three new pilot plants (one pilot plant for laboratory simulation and the other two pilot plants located on the concession). These pilot plants have produced potash using solar evaporation under laboratory conditions and under the ambient conditions of the Sechura Desert.
- Research Lab - GrowMax has offices and a research lab in Piura, Peru, which is 20 km from its potash concession.
- Historical Data - Historical work on the concession included substantial drilling and coring of wells, sampling, geological mapping and construction of a pilot plant utilizing solar evaporation processing which resulted in the production of high quality potassium chloride to re-confirm historical data and to provide information for the National Instrument 43-101 report.
- Engaged to prepare NI 43-101 Report - Ercosplan, a German-based consultant, has been engaged to complete a reserve report that is compliant with National Instrument 43-101.
- Low Carbon Footprint - The solar evaporation process involves a low carbon footprint.
- Additional Potential - Additional mineral potential such as Bromine, Lithium, Magnesium Chloride and other potential minerals.