Great Quest Files PEA and Confirms Robust Economic Results on Tilemsi Phosphate Project
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 7, 2013) - Great Quest Metals Ltd. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:GQ) is pleased to report it has filed on SEDAR the previously announced Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for its Tilemsi phosphate project. The study has been prepared in accordance with the National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). For further details, readers are advised to refer to the full PEA report available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and the Company's press release dated December 18, 2012.
The PEA is a scoping-level study on the development of the Tilemsi phosphate resource into a West African integrated phosphate fertilizer project. It is based on an initial inferred mineral resource of 50 million tonnes, grading at 24.3% PΓééOΓéà, as reported on October 23, 2012. The study considers the mining of the Tilemsi phosphate deposit located in northeastern Mali, the construction of phosphate beneficiation and granulation plants and their associated infrastructure. Test work was completed to prove saleable products such as high grade phosphate raw material for NPK blending facilities and medium grade for low-cost direct application fertilizer. In addition, the study looked at the construction of four NPK blending plants in West Africa (see map below).
- With a US$649 million NPV at 10% discount rate and 33% project IRR, the PEA strongly supports the potential viability of the Tilemsi Phosphate Project.
- The project is cash positive from the first year of operations, and accumulates more than US$2.6 billion over the life of project.
- Initial production is assumed to begin in 2016, with staged production ramp-up from 200,000 tonnes ("t") to 1 million tonnes ("Mt"), based on conservative expectations for market uptake, over 20 years Life-of-Mine.
- The development plans of the Company encompass the production of two granulated phosphate products: a "High Grade Hyperphosphate" (>35% PΓééOΓéà) for mixture into standard NPK blends, and a "Medium Grade Hyperphosphate" (>27% PΓééOΓéà) for simple direct application. A high quality NPK fertilizer produced by the Company's own NPK blending facilities is also considered in the study.
- The multi-phase, long-term marketing and production strategy focuses on agricultural markets in West Africa (eg. Mali, Ghana and Nigeria), specifically targets landlocked regions in order to displace high-cost imported fertilizers, and services emerging commercial farming projects in the region.
To view the map accompanying this press release, click on the following link:http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/gq26m.pdf
Mine Design Considerations
Mining has been scheduled to commence at approximately 200,000 tonnes per annum ("tpa"), increasing by 100,000 tonnes annually, to reach 500,000 tpa by Year 4. Production will increase in Year 8 to a steady rate of 1 million tpa, which will continue until Year 20. Mining will commence in the Tin Hina area and will operate for 13 years. It will continue in the Tarkint Est pits until Year 20.
- The calculated haulage cost corresponds to an average price per tonne per kilometre of US$0.083 based on a gas price of US$1.10 per litre.
- The large distances from the mine and beneficiation/granulation plants to the various West African markets and sea ports will require a thorough logistics plan.
- West Africa's P2O5 demand is projected to increase from 184,000 t in 2010 to 287,000 t in 2020, and 430,000 t in 2030. However, based on Abuja Declaration targets, potential but realizable requirements of phosphate fertilizers will be approximately 537,000 t of P2O5 in 2020 and over 1,000,000 t of P2O5 in 2030. Recognizing that increased fertilizer use is essential for preventing nutrient depletion and soil degradation, many West African governments already promote fertilizer use, through the allocation of subsidies.
- Tilemsi phosphate is highly reactive, demonstrating excellent agronomic effectiveness in West African soils comparative to imported, commercially manufactured fertilizers.
- Tilemsi phosphate offers a unique local source of phosphate, suitable as a direct application fertilizer (medium grade) or as a component of blended NPK fertilizers (high grade). Such local fertilizer production diminishes transportation costs especially for landlocked West African breadbaskets, reduces foreign exchange, and ensures timely and secure supplies of quality fertilizer products at stable domestic prices.
The Company cautions that the PEA is preliminary in nature, as it includes "Inferred Mineral Resources" which are considered too speculative geologically, to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as "Mineral Reserves". There is no certainty that the PEA will be realized, as Mineral Resources do not demonstrate economic viability.
As the situation in Mali and in the city of Gao, in particular, continues to progress towards normalization, Great Quest will communicate in a future press release how it plans to resume activity at its Tilemsi Phosphate Project.
The technical information in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Jed Diner, MSc. P.Geol., a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. Mr. Diner completed his MSc. in Applied Earth Science at Stanford University in 1983 and works internationally on mineral exploration and resource development projects. He has consulted on other phosphate projects in Uzbekistan, Peru and Angola.