By Nick Worth
Passport Potash Inc. announced last week it has received an updated independent mineral resource estimate for 121,000-plus acres of its Holbrook Basin property, as well as 13,000 acres of privately held Hopi lands, and company officials are very happy with the results.
Passport turned to engineers at ERCOSPLAN, a German-based consulting and engineering firm specializing in the potash and salt industry, for the independent report on the company’s mineral resources.
The report detailed three different estimates, which include “measured,” “indicated” and “inferred” quantities of mineralized material and its equivalent amount of potash (KC1).
The “measured” amounts occur within a 300-meter radius of a drill hole, while “indicated” amounts occur within 1,000 meters of a drill hole, minus the measured amount. “Inferred” resources occur within 2,000 meters of a drill hope, minus the measured and indicated amounts.
According to the ERCOSPLAN report, the estimate of the combined Passport and Hopi properties includes measured and indicated mineral resources totaling 397.94 million tonnes of mineralized material with an average grade of 14.65 percent. This is the equivalent of 58.35 million tonnes of potash. (A tonne is equal to 2,204.6 pounds.)
For the “indicated” category of the combined properties, ERCOSPLAN found 363.17 million tonnes of mineralized material with an average KCl grade of 14.68 percent, which equals 53.35 million tonnes of potash.
For the “measured” category of the combined properties, 34.77 million tonnes of mineralized material with a grade of 14.38 percent have been estimated. This is equal to a measured mineral resource of five million tonnes of KCl.
The inferred mineral resource of the combined properties consists of 790.73 million tonnes with an average KCl grade of 12.99 percent, which converts to 102.74 million tonnes of potash.
According to the ERCOSPLAN report, the investigated part of the Passport property contains sufficient resources to publish a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) and justifies further expenditures of funds to expand the mineral resource.
“We are very excited to have this first look at the combined resource with the Hopi Tribe, which is very encouraging,” said Joshua Bleak, president and CEO of Passport. “Our project has never been in as strong a position as it is today, and we are confident that the PEA that will be released within the next two weeks will make it even stronger.”
Ken Bond, director of Corporate Development for Passport Potash, said the PEA will contain the ERCOSPLAN mineral resource information as well as estimates on all the costs associated with the project.
“It will also contain what it will cost to build the mine,” said Bond. “The size and type of shafts, details of shaft construction, what equipment will be used, personnel, mine construction which will be underground, surface facilities and basic infrastructure and estimates of shipping costs.
“We’re pretty excited to have this report out, because it will give everybody a good look at where the project excels, such as amount of mineral and depth,” Bond said. “We believe the project will be very competitive when you compare it to many others around the world right now.”
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By Nick Worth