Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Kore Potash, a company recently listed on the JSE, is 81% complete with the definitive feasibility study into building a potash mine, processing plant and loading facility in the Republic of Congo and will finish the report in the third quarter of 2018.

Kore, an Australian company listed in SA and on London’s Alternative Investment Market, needs to raise more than $1.8bn towards building the 2-million tonnes a year potash mine 35km from the coast, construct a series of conveyor belts to move the product as well as build a jetty to load ships.

In its audited annual results to end-December 2017, Kore said the listings in London — where the company is now domiciled — and Johannesburg would help it raise the equity portion of the funds it needed, while the export credit agency BPI France Assurance Export gave it a letter of support of between $500m and $700m.

The Kola deposit, which is a small area of the large tenement Kore has, will be mined first and the study is assessing the project’s costs and economic benefits. Kola has an indicated resource of 508-million tonnes with a potassium chloride grade of 35.4%, which is used to make potassium fertiliser. The grade placed the deposit among the top tier of global potash deposits, Kore said in the annual report.

Kore has also been drilling an area near Kola called Dougou Extension, which has rich deposits of sylvinite, the same mineral as Kola.

"Based on the exploration to date, the company is of the view that Dougou Extension has the potential to host a second high-grade sylvinite deposit, which would add to the company’s flagship Kola Potash," Kore said, adding that further exploration had been suspended to focus on completing the Kola study.

Company executives have spoken of the potential for their deposits in the Congo to generate up to six-million tonnes of saleable product a year, tripling Kola’s planned production.

"For us, the 2017 financial report was essentially academic, having been overtaken by post-period events. Kore ended 2017 with a reasonably strong balance sheet: the company had $16.5m of cash versus $3.3m of payables. The position was bolstered in March 2018 via the raising of $13.1m," said Shore Capital analyst Yuen Low.