Location of the Fort Cady and Salt Wells Projects. Image credit: American Pacific Borates Limited.
American Pacific Borates Limited (ABR or the Company) has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Compass Minerals America Inc. (Compass Minerals), a subsidiary of NYSE-listed Compass Minerals International, Inc., to progress negotiations with respect to Compass Minerals taking responsibility for the sales and marketing of sulphate of potash (SOP) from ABR’s Fort Cady Borate Mine.
The Fort Cady Project is located in the southeastern desert region of San Bernardino County, California. It is near the town of Newberry Springs, approximately 50 kilometres east of the city of Barstow and 4 kilometres south of Interstate 40 (I-40).
Fort Cady is a highly rare and large colemanite deposit and is the largest known contained borate occurrence in the world not owned by major borate producers Rio Tinto and Eti Maden.
The project will involve the production of boric acid via solution mining of an ore body that is around 450 metres beneath the surface. SOP is produced as a by-product of the production of HCI that is used in the solution mining process for boric acid.
Fort Cady has a JORC mineral estimate of Resource of 120.4 million metric tonnes (Mt) at 6.5 per cent B2O3 (11.6 per cent Boric Acid equivalent [H3BO3] and 340 ppm Lithium (5 per cent B2O3 cut-off) for 7.8 Mt contained B2O3 (13.9 Mt H3BO3):
- Total Measured MRE of 38.87 Mt at 6.70 per cent B2O3 (11.91 per cent H3BO3) and 379 ppm Lithium (5 per cent B2O3 cut-off grade) for 2.61 Mt contained B2O3 (4.63 Mt H3BO3)
- Total Indicated MRE of 19.72 Mt at 6.40 per cent B2O3 (11.36 per cent H3BO3) and 343 ppm Lithium (5 per cent B2O3 cut-off grade) for 1.26 Mt contained B2O3 (2.24 Mt H3BO3)
- Total Inferred MRE of 61.85 Mt at 6.43 per cent B2O3 (11.42 per cent H3BO3) and 322 ppm Lithium (5 per cent B2O3 cut-off) for 3.98 Mt contained B2O3 (7.07 Mt H3BO3)
Under the terms of the LOI, the parties have agreed to work together to:
- Determine an appropriate structure for Compass Minerals to take responsibility for sales and marketing of the Company’s SOP production; and
- Progress crop trials and agronomy studies for boron enriched fertilisers.
ABR expects formal agreements to be executed over the coming months.
In commenting on the LOI, American Pacific Borates Limited Executive Director, Anthony Hall, said: “There is a strong alignment between ABR and Compass Minerals relative to our ambitions to supply SOP to the growing North American agricultural market. Compass Minerals has well-established customer markets and supply chain, so we think the collaboration on SOP sales is a sensible one.”
“The partnership will allow ABR to focus on its rare Borate business, while also leveraging the combined expertise on the potential to develop new boron enriched specialty fertilisers.”