Saturday 19th September 2020

Resource Clips

Where grade meets market

The Khorat Basin’s potash advantages attract Vatic Ventures to Thailand

by Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel Belger

Isabel: I would like to introduce the president of Vatic Ventures Corp [NEX:VCV.H], Nasim Tyab. Hi Nasim, it is a pleasure to talk to you again. Thank you for taking the time.

Nasim: It is a pleasure to talk to you again, Isabel.

Isabel: To get started I’d like to ask you to tell a bit about your background and how you became president of Vatic Ventures Corp.

Nasim: Basically, I have been working in the capital markets since the early 1990s, and one of the earlier companies that I worked with was a company called Asia Pacific Resources, which was exploring for potash in Thailand, where it made a fantastic discovery. The market capitalization of the company, based on that discovery, went up to $1 billion and the company moved from the Vancouver Stock Exchange to full TSX listing. The CEO of the company at that time was Dr. Gerry Wright. Gerry and I kept in touch over the years, and in the meantime I was looking for a project for Vatic. Gerry wanted to return to Thailand because he thought the timing and the opportunity were optimal. Through his contacts we managed to acquire 80% of a Thai company called Saksrithai Development that had two potash concessions in Thailand in a highly prospective area.

Isabel: I was going to ask you next why you chose to develop projects in Thailand, but you have basically covered that already.

Nasim: I can certainly expand on my answer! Vatic Ventures is exploring for potash, which most people know as a mineral required to produce fertilizer. Most of the growing demand comes from Asia. We know that the potash in Thailand represents the largest undeveloped known deposits in Asia, if not the world.

Isabel: You said potash is mostly used as an ingredient for manufacturing fertilizer and the growing demand is in Asia. What do they use it for, for growing rice?

The Khorat Basin’s potash advantages attract Vatic Ventures to Thailand

Terraced rice fields in Chiang Mai province, Thailand.

Nasim: Yes, exactly, for growing rice, palm oil and a number of other crops. If you look at the southeast Asian market, where Vatic’s project is, you have essential crops like rice, with Thailand and Vietnam being very large rice producers. Then there is palm oil, and countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are the biggest producers of palm oil. About 70% of total potash imports into our market area are used for these two crops.

Isabel: So it is a very smart move to develop a project where demand for potash is mostly growing.

Nasim: Yes, because it is a bulk commodity which is sold by the tonne. Presently most of the world’s potash comes from Canada, especially Saskatchewan, or from Russia and Europe.

Isabel: So it is a transportation cost problem, right?

Nasim: Yes, there is arguably a lot of potash in the world. But that is not the issue. The issue with potash is transportation costs, as you point out. Being in Thailand, which is the market we are planning to sell to, we could have a US$60 per tonne transportation cost advantage.

Isabel: That is a significant advantage. How is it as a foreign exploration company to work in Thailand?

Nasim: Dr. Gerry Wright became the CEO of Vatic Ventures when we closed the transaction earlier this year, and as I mentioned Gerry has very strong contacts there. Operationally we have got great experience on the ground in Thailand and also great governmental contacts. The other thing that is very significant is that we are the only Western company in that basin.

The Khorat Basin’s potash advantages attract Vatic Ventures to Thailand

A map shows Vatic Ventures’ Saksrithai project,
along with known deposits in Thailand.

We shot seismic recently and the reason we did so is because there is a potash mine beside us that is going into production with very good grades. The seismic proof is the same proof that he used for Asia Pacific Resources. The seismic contractor is the same contractor he used in his earlier discovery in the ’90s, and that is the same with the drilling contractor.

Isabel: You say Gerry has great contacts with the government. Is Thailand generally very mining-friendly, or does it mostly work through relationships built over the years?

Nasim: He works through long-term contacts. First, you must remember that in Thailand potash is regarded as a very strategic resource and they give out very few licences, and only to parties that they have substantially vetted. Second, in terms of being mining-friendly, there was a steering committee recently set up which basically was mandated to develop Thailand´s potash resources. The thing with potash is it is like coal. It just keeps going on and on unless there is faulting. But based on the seismic, if you look at our last news release (July 26), it clearly indicates [structural] connectivity between us and the deposit next door. The other important fact about Thai potash is that it is relatively shallow. It is about 300 metres, compared with up to 1.7 kilometres or more down in Saskatchewan. This allows us great savings in capital and operating costs, not only when you are mining but also in exploration costs. So you could say one drill hole has maybe one-tenth of the cost compared to drilling costs in Canada. So two major competitive advantages Vatic enjoys in Thailand are shallow depth and proximity to the market.

Isabel: The shallowness and the proximity of the market give you already a big advantage. Is there something else that makes your project special?

Nasim: We anticipate similar grades to the adjoining project where reported grades are better than the majority of average potash grades held by most other potash juniors. Obviously, we will have to drill it to confirm the grade. One other aspect to consider is a number of these junior potash companies have compelling market caps. There is for example Danakali Resources in Eritrea, with a $186-million market cap, and Highfield Resources in Spain with a $347-million market cap. These are projects not yet in production, although drilled out…. So Vatic Ventures, which has a market cap of less than $2 million, has great leverage if the company is successful in its exploration.

Isabel: What are the highlights so far on the project? You mentioned the seismic survey.

Nasim: The highlight is that the seismic survey shows structural continuity with the project next door. And based on the tabular nature of potash, it greatly increases the prospectivity of what we are going to be drilling.

Isabel: So you are really happy about the outcome of the seismic survey.

Nasim: Absolutely. It is very positive.

Isabel: What will be your next steps on the project?

We have highlighted some areas for the initial drilling program. We may shoot a bit more seismic to further define those targets. We expect to commence drilling in early November, after the end of the rainy season in the area.—Nasim Tyab

Nasim: We have highlighted some areas for the initial drilling program. We may shoot a bit more seismic to further define those targets. We expect to commence drilling in early November, after the end of the rainy season in the area.

Isabel: How much money do you have in the bank right now? Do you plan to raise money soon?

Nasim: Yes, we will be conducting a share offering at some point in the near future to further develop the company´s assets.

Isabel: Do you know how much stock management owns?

Nasim: About 10%.

Isabel: Are you going to change your listing to the TSX Venture any time soon?

Nasim: Yes, that is our planning. Coincident to the upcoming financing, and the fact that we shot the seismic program, we will file the 43-101 report and we expect to move to the TSX Venture.

Isabel: This is going to be this year?

Nasim: Yes, our plan is for October.

Isabel: When will there be the next news, and can we expect a news flow within the upcoming months?

Nasim: Yes. There is the upcoming financing. We are expecting to file the technical report, going to TSX Venture, drilling and then the drilling results coming out.

Isabel: That sounds like a news flow to me. Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the drilling.

Nasim: Thank you for having me, Isabel.

The Khorat Basin’s potash advantages attract Vatic Ventures to Thailand

Nasim Tyab, president of
Vatic Ventures



Mr. Tyab is a businessman with a background in management, corporate development and public company finance. He has over 25 years of experience with public companies and has served as a director and senior officer of a number of public companies, principally in the minerals and energy sectors. He has been the president of Oracle Energy since 2000 and was the president of Senco Sensors from 1995 to 2001.

Mr. Tyab has also been a director of Mohave Exploration and Production from November 2006 to August 2010, an oil and gas company which amalgamated with Porto Energy. He served as a consultant to Asia Pacific Resources and, as a member of the corporate development team for the Udon Thani project, he is familiar with the regional potash industry. Mr. Tyab received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University in 1995. He has been president of Vatic since 2011.

Fun facts

My hobbies: Hiking, practising on my instruments, spending time with my family
My favourite airport: Vancouver
My favourite tradeshow: PDAC
My favourite commodity: Potash and copper
With this person I would like to have dinner: Elon Musk
If I could have a superpower, it would be: To tell the future

Comments are closed.

Share | rss feed

View All: Feature Articles