Thursday, August 18, 2022

Chatham Rock turns to on-land mining

Chatham Rock Phosphate is raising close to $2 million from a private placement of up to 10 million units for further work on two phosphate projects in French Polynesia and Queensland.

Chatham Rock Phosphate chief executive Chris Castle its prospects have lifted considerably with international phosphate prices at 10-year highs.

Chatham Rock Phosphate is raising close to $2 million from a private placement of up to 10 million units for further work on two phosphate projects in French Polynesia and Queensland.

With its proposed undersea mining of the Chatham Rise stalled in the water, the listed company has turned to the Polynesian island of Makatea and to the Korella deposits in northwest Queensland, near Mt Isa.

The prospects of the company have lifted considerably with international phosphate prices at 10-year highs, chief executive officer and founder Chris Castle says.

Its share price on the NZX has risen by 10c or 80% from 12c to 22c since Christmas.

Chatham Rock Phosphate (CRP) is also listed in Canada and Germany.

Cornerstone shareholders in Australia, Singapore, Germany and Switzerland, together with the management team, hold 53% of the shares and the company now has a market capitalisation of $15m.

CRP also intends to continue its legal battle to get the Environmental Protection Authority to approve undersea mining.

Subsidiary Avenir Makatea has applied for a mining concession to mine and rehabilitate over 600ha of land on a previously mined atoll from 1917 to 1964.

Korella phosphate mine was acquired by CRP in late 2021 with a small cash deposit, the issue of $2m CRP shares and $10m of royalties payable on the first 1m tonnes of rock phosphate sold.

“Korella phosphate is low cadmium, direct application phosphate, with a low carbon footprint, suitable for the organic and regenerative farming sector,” the company said.

Phosphate ore will be contract mined and crushed and the capital cost to CRP will be low.

An exploration permit has been accepted by the Queensland Department of Resources for a much larger area south of Korella covering rock phosphates and rare earth elements.

“We are no longer a single project company needing to overcome a permitting hurdle, but an expanding group of onshore phosphate and rare earth projects much closer to generating operating cashflows,” Castle said.

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