FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
New York, NY (3/21/2023) – Potash includes various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form. Potassium, as one of the three main macronutrients, is in high demand as a fertilizer. As a result, the potash industry supplies over 45 million tons of the nutrient (K2O) to the global farming community, at a value exceeding USD 17 Billion annually. Potassium is vital for all plants as it plays a key role in water uptake and the synthesis of plant material, improving plant health. Most of the world’s potash comes from Canada, with the largest deposits located in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Russia and Belarus rank as the second and third highest potash producers. However, as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, the market has been affected, as economic sanctions on Russia have caused a surge in commodity prices and supply chain disruptions. And, according to data published by the Business Research Company, the global potash market size will grow from USD 22.04 Billion in 2022 to USD 23.03 Billion in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5%. Sage Potash Corp. (TSXV: SAGE), The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS), Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE: NTR), ICL Group Ltd. (NYSE: ICL), Intrepid Potash, Inc. (NYSE: IPI)
The main types of potash mining include underground or solution mining. Underground potash deposits come from evaporated sea beds. Boring machines dig out the ore, which is then transported to the surface to the processing mill, where the raw ore is crushed and refined to extract the potassium salts. When deposits are located very deep in the earth, solution mining is used as an alternative to traditional underground mining. Solution mining employs the use of water, or brine, to dissolve water soluble minerals such as potash, magnesium or other salts. Wells are drilled down to the salt deposits, and the solvent is injected into the ore body to dissolve it. The solution is then pumped to surface and the minerals are recovered through recrystallization.
Sage Potash Corp. (TSX-V: SAGE) announced yesterday breaking news that, “its common shares have commenced trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (the “TSX-V”) under the ticker symbol “SAGE.V” effective at the open on March 20, 2023. This follows the closing of private placements totalling $5,322,350, and the acquisition of a potash land portfolio in the State of Utah consisting of over 83,000 acres of State and Private Mineral leases and BLM Prospecting Permit Applications, as well as assembling a highly experienced team adept at all aspects of solution mining, surface processing, operations and fertilizer distribution.
Historical exploration on the property includes an important discovery drill hole by a previous operator, with core samples identifying two flat potash beds featuring high potash grades with favourable commercial characteristics. Potash mineralization was first encountered in the Johnson 1 exploration well completed in 2014, returning grades between 27-29.3% K2O (36–43% KCI) in the Lower and Upper Cycle 18 horizons with combined potash zones of 12.74m (41.78 ft).
Based on historical exploration, the company has defined a Mineral Resource on the Property as follows:
- Inferred Resource for Upper Potash Bed, Cycle 18: 159.3 million metric tonnes (MMT), grading 42.67 % KCl with 0.01 % carnallite and 0.62 % insolubles
- Inferred Resource for Lower Potash Bed, Cycle 18: 120.2 MMT, grading 35.77 % KCl
The parameters used for estimating the Mineral Resource and Potential Quantity are summarized as follows:
- A radius of influence (ROI) of 0 to 2,400 m was used to bound the Inferred tonnage
- A 25 % deduction was applied for undetectable seismic anomalies
- ROIs and deductions for unknown geologic anomalies were determined by the QPs based on their experience and confidence in the geological continuity of the mineralized horizon
- A geological interval was defined based on the core to identify the mineralized contacts’ top and bottom and further refined by the assay results
- A 5 % K2O grade cut-off was used to delineate the geological boundaries (top and base) of the mineralized section of the potash bed
Geologically, the resource is situated in the Paradox Basin, known to host extensive underdeveloped world-class potash resources (approximately 2 billion tons, according to the US Geological Survey). The Paradox Basin benefits from close proximity to modern infrastructure, low-cost power and electricity, skilled workforce, regional exploration and development supplies and services.
The Company’s objectives following today’s listing will be to complete a step out geological hole that will further define the resource estimates and may double as a possible cavern development test well, to advance preliminary engineering and PEA.
Sage’s CEO, Peter Hogendoorn, commented, ‘Given the current sanctions against Russia and Belarus (which together constitute 40% of the world’s potash supply), the US currently imports nearly all its annual potash requirements from Canada. Having its own domestic supply only makes sense for the US. Reliable and local supply chains are key to achieving national food security in this post-Covid and inflationary era. Even with what appears to be a somewhat more rational market this year over last, shipping costs from Saskatchewan and lower barge capacity due to low water levels of the Mississippi River, can still add $150 – $225/ton that would not be incurred by having local production. As we continue to add to our proven management team, together with our engineering partners, RESPEC Inc. we look forward to sharing ongoing developments as they become available.’”
The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) through its subsidiaries, produces and markets concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients in North America and internationally. Mosaic’s North America Business includes potash and phosphate facilities located in the U.S., Canada and Peru. The integrated business features seven potash and phosphate mining facilities primarily located in Saskatchewan, Florida and Peru, along with five phosphate concentrates sites in Louisiana and Florida. Our products account for 73% and 40% of North America’s phosphate and potash annual production, respectively. The Company claims, “We mine phosphate in Central Florida and Peru, and potash in Saskatchewan and New Mexico. With those minerals, we produce high-quality fertilizers and animal feed, then market and deliver our finished products—about half to customers in North America, and half to customers around the world, including those in all key agricultural regions.”
Nutrien Ltd. (NYSE: NTR) announced July 20th, 2022 that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Brazilian company Casa do Adubo S.A. (Casa do Adubo). The acquisition includes 39 retail locations, under the brand Casa do Adubo, and 10 distribution centers, under the brand Agrodistribuidor Casal, in the states of Acre, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, São Paulo and Tocantins. “The acquisition expands our footprint in Brazil from five states to 13 and supports growers in a key region of the world that will increasingly be relied on to sustainably increase crop production and feed a growing population, especially with the current global food insecurity challenges,” said Ken Seitz, Interim President and CEO at Nutrien. “Our strong team in Brazil has successfully closed and onboarded five transactions since 2020. We expect that integrating Casa do Adubo will further enhance our ability to provide whole-acre solutions for all customers in the region while delivering quality earnings in this large and growing market.” Nutrien produces and distributes approximately 27 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products world-wide.
ICL Group Ltd. (NYSE: ICL), announced September 1st, 2022 ushered in a new era for controlled release urea with the launch of eqo.x, a groundbreaking rapidly biodegradable release technology designed for open field agriculture. This innovative solution is achieved through a coating, which will help farmers maximize agricultural crop performance while also limiting environmental impact, by reducing nutrient loss and by increasing nutrient use efficiency (NUE) up to 80%. The release technology also allows for increased or similar yields with reduced fertilizer rates, can help reduce the number and amount of nitrogen applications, and provides consistent and predictable nutrient release. “ICL is proud to introduce our most advanced CRF coating, eqo.x rapidly biodegrading release technology, which will both help regulate the release of nutrients on a daily basis – by responding to each crops’ specific needs – and result in higher nutrient use efficiency,” said Elad Aharonson, president of Innovative Ag Solutions for ICL. “Our innovative, sustainable, new technology will provide precision nutrition through a coating, which biodegrades more rapidly, and helps improve yield, reduce nutrient loss and simplify fertilizer application. Not only will this benefit farmers, it will also help the environment, as it will greatly reduce the leaching of nutrients into both the soil and groundwater, when compared to conventional fertilizers.” ICL leverages its unique bromine, potash and phosphate resources and its strong focus on R&D and technological innovation, to drive growth across its end markets.
Intrepid Potash, Inc. (NYSE: IPI) announced on March 6th, reports its financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2022. Total sales of $66.7 million in the fourth quarter and $337.6 million for the full-year 2022, as potash and Trio® average net realized sales prices increased to $713 and $479 per ton, respectively. Intrepid is the only U.S. producer of muriate of potash, which is applied as an essential nutrient for healthy crop development, utilized in several industrial applications, and used as an ingredient in animal feed.
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