Can you describe your company and say what it does?
Western Potash Corp. (TSX: T.WPX, Stock Forum) is a mineral exploration company engaged in the acquisition, evaluation and development of potash mineral properties. Currently, we are focused on our Milestone Property in southern Saskatchewan. We have had several NI 43 101 Compliant Mineral Resource Estimates, as well as a Preliminary Economic Assessment and a Pre-Feasibility Study completed on this project. We are working towards completing our Feasibility Study on the Milestone property as a part of our goal to build an efficient potash mine.
What distinguishes your company from others in your space?
Western Potash Corp. is unique as we host one of the largest potash resources among independent publicly-traded developers listed on the TSX. The deposit itself is flat lying and contains high-grade sylvinite with very few contaminants. Saskatchewan is a politically-stable province and is a mining-friendly jurisdiction along with the necessary infrastructure. Our project is more advanced compared to most of our peers in the Junior Potash space. We have completed, in four years, all exploration on a previously unexplored property and have now entered the development phase.
Can you explain why you have chosen to work in Western Canada?
Saskatchewan hosts one of the biggest potash deposits in the world. There are already nine operating potash mines in the area. The local and provincial government bodies understand and openly support new potash exploration and expansion projects. It allows new companies to execute their exploration and mining plans with a much lower risk than other jurisdictions.
What are your flagship projects?
Our flagship project is our 100% owned Milestone Project in southern Saskatchewan. According to our Pre- Feasibility Study our plan is to produce 2.8 mtpy of potash annually, via solution mining, at this location. Our OPEX cost, once primary and secondary mining are underway, is predicted to be $62.35/t.
What are the main challenges that you face in operating your business?
The main challenge this company faces is securing the necessary capital associated with a mine of this scale. We are talking about a mine that will produce 2.8 million tonnes of potash per year, for over 60 years. Western Potash Corp. is looking at an initial CAPEX of $2.758 billion CAD.
Who are your competitors?
We don’t look at our peers as our ‘competitors’. Some of our peers would be Encanto Potash in Saskatchewan, Allana Potash in Ethiopia and Passport Potash in the U.S.
How much cash do you have on hand and what is your monthly cash burn rate?
As of Dec. 31, 2011, we had $15.6 million in the bank. Currently we are spending around $1.5 million a month on our current engineering studies, environmental work and the partnership initiative, as well as, day-to-day administrative costs.
Who are the key players on your management team? What kind of experience do they bring to the table?
For now I will let you know about the two people responsible for our Feasibility process. We have many other talented people on our management team that you can find on our website.
Dean Pekeski, Executive Vice President. Dean Pekeski is a Professional Geologist registered in the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He is a graduate from the University of Western Ontario with over 17 years experience in mineral exploration. From April 1996 until March 2008, Mr. Pekeski was employed as an exploration geologist and project manager for Rio Tinto Exploration where he explored for base metal and diamond deposits across Canada, Southern Africa, and India. Mr. Pekeski's accomplishments include leading the Rio Tinto exploration team that discovered, and evaluated the diamondiferous Bunder kimberlites in India. His most recent responsibilities included managing Rio Tinto’s diamond exploration programs in North America. He currently manages all Western Potash's Potash Exploration Programs.
Richard Lock, Project Director. Richard has more than 20 years experience in the mining industry, having begun his career with De Beers-Anglo American in South Africa. Richard then joined Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamonds Project (Diavik) at Lac de Gras in Canada, where he took the project from discovery to production. Richard also completed a large oil sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, for Canadian Natural Resources Limited, an independent oil and natural gas exploration, development and production company. Most recently, Richard was the Project Director for Resolution Copper, and was responsible for the pre-feasibility studies and associated on-site activities at the Resolution Project. Richard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom.
Disclosure: Western Potash is a Stockhouse client