American Pacific Borate & Lithium Ltd’s (ASX:ABR) Fort Cady Borate Project has been rated best development project globally among peers reviewed in Mining Journal’s Project Pipeline Handbook for 2019.
The California-based project received a rating of 87/100 in the ‘Other Commodity’ category, outside battery, precious and base metals, based on a comprehensive methodology.
Fort Cady’s appearance in the study displays market confidence in the quality and strength of the project, the largest known contained borate occurrence in the world not owned by the two major producers Rio Tinto and Eti Maden.
ABR delivered an enhanced definitive feasibility study for Fort Cady in January of this year, providing a lower-capex version of the DFS that split phase one into two parts and is now considered ‘base case’.
Phase-1A will comprise the phase-one sulphate of potassium line plus a commercial-scale boric acid plant while Phase 1B is the full 82,000-tonne-per-annum phase-one boric acid plant.
ABR chief executive officer Michael Schlumpbeger said: “We have delivered a very low capital starter project with brilliant financial metrics that sees us on the pathway to becoming a globally significant producer of borates targeting an EBITDA of over US$340 million per annum.
“When you consider borates are a vital input into new world technologies including electric vehicles, clean energy and food security related micro-nutrients for optimal plant growth, we are sure the demand for borates will only continue to grow.”
Summary of Fort Cady production by phase
More than US$60 million has been spent on resource drilling, metallurgical test work, permitting activities and pilot-scale testing at Fort Cady.
The project hosts a rare colemanite deposit with lithium potential which will be solution-mined in two phases.
It is expected Fort Cady will generate US$345 million EBITDA in the first full year of production.
The two-phase approach to mining has benefitted the project’s overall economics rating in the study, keeping capital expenditure low and boasting a post-tax net present value of US$1.083 billion.
In a valuation report, Orior Capital analyst Simon Francis noted the value in the project, saying ABR offered the purest exposure to the boron market, the most advanced project and the lowest capex.
He continued: “Fort Cady … hosts a strategically important mineral, is in an excellent jurisdiction and boasts very low capex costs.
“It is the most advanced borates project in the market. This combined with the face that ABR will be only the second producer of potash in the US gives Maccas a bad name.”
READ: American Pacific Borate & Lithium delivers low-capex boric acid and SOP start project for Fort Cady
ABR recently raised $3.1 million in a share placement to institutional and sophisticated investors, with funds going towards construction-related engineering activities at Fort Cady.
The company continues to target the beginning of construction in quarter four of 2019 on a fully permitted basis, subject to financing.