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Verdant Minerals feasibility study values phosphate project at $344 million

A final investment decision is expected to be made by the end of the December quarter 2018.
map of project in Northern Territory
The modeled 20-year mine life only utilises 8% of the known Ammaroo JORC resource

Verdant Minerals Ltd (ASX:VRM) has received positive feasibility study results from its 100%-owned Ammaroo Phosphate Project in the Northern Territory.

The study was based on a staged development with an initial 20-year open pit mine life.

Base case estimates suggest a project net present value (NPV) of $344 million based on life-of-mine net cash flows of $1.97 billion.

Production is based on conventional truck and shovel open pit mining and a screening, crushing, grinding and flotation circuit.

This will produce a low cadmium, high-quality rock concentrate at 33% phosphorous pentoxide.

The results prompted a 13% increase in Verdant shares, which were up to 2.6 cents intra-day.

Development in two stages for lower initial capital expenditure

The mining operation is established around an initial project (Stage I) to produce 1 million tonnes per annum of phosphate rock concentrate for the first five years.

A replication of Stage I processing and site infrastructure will take place during year 5 to produce 2 million tonnes of concentrate per annum from year 6 for a 20-year mine life known as Stage II.

Stage I would cost $368 million and take 15 months to build.

Verdant progressing towards engaging with financiers

The finalisation of the feasibility study represents a key milestone in the evolution of the Ammaroo Project.

This study, along with the pending finalisation of the environmental approvals process and finalisation of a Native Title Agreement will facilitate the granting of the requisite minerals leases.

More importantly, this will then enable the company to start formally engaging with banks.

A final investment decision is targeted for the end of the December quarter 2018 and construction is planned to start in early 2019.

Opportunity to extend mine life

Notably, the 20-year mine life only utilises 8% of the known Ammaroo JORC resource.

Furthermore, this does not include the inferred resource at Ammaroo South or the exploration potential of the Rockhole prospect.

This has potential to increase the valuation of the mining operation.

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