Monday 20th November 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘thailand’

Vatic Ventures president Nasim Tyab discusses the Saksrithai project in Thailand’s Khorat Basin

September 25th, 2017

…Read more

Where grade meets market

August 25th, 2017

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

 

Bio

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

With nearby deposits and markets, Vatic Ventures explores for potash in Thailand

March 16th, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 16, 2017

Contiguous to a potash mine in development and within the world’s largest potash-importing region, Vatic Ventures NEX:VCV.H has begun Phase I exploration on its Saksrithai project in Thailand. Up to 40 line-kilometres of 2D seismic surveying will test the continuity of the geological structure and thickness of a potash-bearing layer. Operator Geocon has wide experience in potash exploration in the Khorat evaporate basin, where Saksrithai’s located.

With nearby deposits and markets, Vatic Ventures explores for potash in Thailand

A seismic survey kicks off Phase I potash
exploration at Vatic Ventures’ Saksrithai project.

In January Vatic acquired an 80% interest in Saksrithai Development, which holds prospecting licences for the 3,200-hectare project. The Khorat Basin hosts the world’s largest undeveloped potash deposit and the only commercially viable potash deposits known in Asia, according to Vatic. Contiguous to Saksrithai, construction began last year on the Dan Khun Thot project, a carnallite-sylvinite deposit grading 21.5% potassium chloride. A mining licence is pending for another Basin project, Udon Thani, with a grade of 40% KCl.

Vatic CEO Gerry Wright led Asia Pacific Resources for 12 years, where he was directly responsible for the company’s acquisition, financing and development of Udon Thani.

According to figures cited by Vatic, Asia consumes over 40% of global potash production, while Southeast Asia is expected to show the highest growth rate in demand. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam now consume over five million tonnes of potassium chloride a year, an amount growing about 6% annually.

The company’s next steps would include a 10-hole drill program, baseline environmental studies and community programs.

Exploring opportunity

June 17th, 2016

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

by Greg Klein
Next Page 1 | 2

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

 

“There’s excitement in the air,” said Cambridge House International founder Joe Martin. That’s the mood he senses as junior explorers emerge from the downturn. And certainly optimism was evident on June 14 as more than 450 people converged on the Vancouver Commodity Forum for an afternoon of expert talks amid a showcase of two dozen companies. Keynote speakers included Martin, Chris Berry of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, John Kaiser of Kaiser Research Online and Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Lithium, not surprisingly, stood out as a commodity of interest. While cautioning against over-enthusiasm for the exploration rush, Berry and Hykawy each affirmed the need for juniors to find new sources of the metal. Cobalt and scandium featured prominently too, as did other commodities including what Kaiser called “the weird metals”—lesser known stuff that’s vital to our lives but threatened with security of supply.

Kaiser also noted he was addressing a crowd larger than his last PDAC audience, another indication that “we’ve turned the corner.”

Attendees also met and mingled with company reps. Potential investors learned about a wide gamut of projects aspiring to meet a growing demand for necessities, conveniences and luxuries.

Presented by Zimtu Capital TSXV:ZC, the forum’s success will make it an annual event, said company president Dave Hodge. Berry emceed the conference, holding the unenviable task of “making sure Dave stays well-behaved.”

Read interviews with keynote speakers:

Meet the companies

Most companies were core holdings of Zimtu, a prospect generator that connects explorers with properties and also shares management, technical and financing expertise. Zimtu offers investors participation in a range of commodities and companies, including some at the pre-IPO stage.

After sampling high-grade lithium on its Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories earlier this month, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY plans to return in mid-July for a program of mapping, exposing spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes, and channel sampling. The company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $318,836 in April. Hidden Lake’s located near Highway 4, about 40 kilometres from Yellowknife and within the Yellowknife Pegmatite Belt.

With one of the Athabasca Basin’s largest and most prospective exploration portfolios, ALX Uranium TSXV:AL has a number of projects competing for flagship status. Among them is Hook-Carter, which covers extensions of three known conductive trends, one of them hosting the sensational discoveries of Fission Uranium TSX:FCU and NexGen Energy TSXV:NXE. ALX’s strategic partnership with Holystone Energy allows that company to invest up to $750,000 in ALX and retain the right to maintain its ownership level for three years. ALX closed a private placement first tranche of $255,000 last month, amid this year’s busy news flow from a number of the company’s active projects.

A capacity crowd attends the first annual Vancouver Commodity Forum

Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD boasts one of northern Canada’s largest 100%-held diamond exploration portfolios. Among the properties are the drill-ready Stein project in Nunavut and others in the Lac de Gras region that’s the world’s third-largest diamond producer by value. North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR holds an option to earn up to 55% of Arctic Star’s Redemption property.

Aurvista Gold TSXV:AVA considers its Douay property one of Quebec’s largest and last undeveloped gold projects. The Abitibi property has resources totalling 238,400 ounces of gold indicated and 2.75 million ounces inferred. Now, with $1.1 million raised last month, the company hopes to increase those numbers through a summer program including 4,000 metres of drilling. Douay’s 2014 PEA used a 5% discount rate to forecast a post-tax NPV of $16.6 million and a post-tax IRR of 40%.

Looking for lithium in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA now has a geophysics crew en route to its Kibby Basin property, which the company believes could potentially host lithium-bearing brines in a similar geological setting to the Clayton Valley, about 65 kilometres south. Results from the gravity survey will help identify targets for direct push drilling and sampling.

A mineral perhaps overlooked in the effort to supply green technologies, zeolite has several environmental applications. Canadian Zeolite TSXV:CNZ holds two projects in southern British Columbia, Sun Group and Bromley Creek, the latter an active quarrying operation.

With a high-grade, near-surface rare earths deposit hosted in minerals that have proven processing, Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE takes its Ashram project in Quebec towards pre-feasibility. The relatively straightforward mineralogy contributes to steady progress in metallurgical studies. Commerce also holds southeastern B.C.’s Blue River tantalum-niobium deposit, which reached PEA in 2011 and a resource update in 2013.

Permitted for construction following a 2014 PEA, Copper North Mining’s (TSXV:COL) Carmacks copper-gold-silver project now undergoes revised PEA studies. The agenda calls for improved economics by creating a new leach and development plan for the south-central Yukon property. In central B.C. the company holds the Thor exploration property, 20 kilometres south of the historic Kemess mine.

Next Page 1 | 2

Potash in perspective

February 21st, 2014

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

by Greg Klein

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

As the world’s population grows, arable land shrinks, causing greater demand for fertilizer.

 

It’s an opportunity best characterized as “a marathon, not a sprint.” That’s how Western Potash TSX:WPX VP of corporate development John Costigan refers to his company’s Milestone project. The high-grade potash solution mine proposed for southern Saskatchewan achieved full feasibility in December 2012 and final environmental approval last April. Then came tumultuous times, with what Costigan calls the “Russian-Belarusian debacle” that took down the commodity’s price. Now, with solid Asian investment and indications of a market revival, the advanced-stage project might be seen as an early-stage opportunity emerging anew.

Understandably, enthusiasm for potash plunged with the price following Uralkali’s breakup with cartel partner Belaruskali last summer. Late last year, however, JP Morgan pronounced a more optimistic outlook for 2014. By January analysts were saying prices might have bottomed in the Chinese contracts signed by Uralkali and Canpotex, the marketing arm of PotashCorp TSX:POT, Agrium TSX:AGU and Mosaic NYE:MOS.

More recent news suggests funding’s picking up. On February 18 Verde Potash TSX:NPK reported significant progress in its application for US$105 million in loans, grants and investment from the Brazilian government for the company’s Cerrado Verde project. Six days earlier came news that fertilizer giant ICL was buying a $25-million stake in Allana Potash TSX:AAA, with potential up to $84 million, along with an offtake agreement for the company’s Danakhil project in Ethiopia. Last June Western got a $31.98-million cash injection from a Chinese joint venture.

The attraction was the full-feas, fully permitted Milestone. The operation calls for solution mining, in which water is pumped into underground caverns and then retrieved as potash-rich brine. A relatively simple but highly effective technique, solution mining would allow Western to build the greenfield operation in about 40 months.

The long-term outlook and an advanced-stage project bring Asian interest to Western Potash

Just 60 kilometres away the same approach is being taken by the giant K+S Group. Now under construction, the Legacy project is scheduled to begin potash solution mining in 2016.

Milestone benefits from Saskatchewan’s mining-friendly policies and rich infrastructure. Two continental railways pass through the 35,400-hectare property, as do roads, power and gas lines. An agreement with the city of Regina, 30 kilometres away, provides a supply of treated waste water to extract the potash—enough water, in fact, to flush out 2.8 million tonnes per year for the mine’s projected 40-year life.

Those benefits have already attracted a $31.98-million investment from CBC (Canada) Holding Corp, a JV comprised of fertilizer producer China BlueChemical and Benewood Holdings, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong investment firm Guoxin International Investment Corp. The deal comes with a 20-year offtake agreement for the lesser of 30% of Milestone’s production or a million tonnes a year.

With a 19.9% stake in Western, CBCHC plays an active role in the strategic alliance. One China BlueChemical appointee serves on Western’s board and another acts as an observer. The alliance has struck two six-person committees, one to study Milestone’s technical, construction and procurement details and another to recommend financing strategies, meet potential financiers and evaluate proposals.

The alliance brings technical synergies. It also offers potential financial flexibility that could help the junior put together the $2.91-billion capex—a considerable sum but substantially less than K+S is spending 60 kilometres away. One possible Milestone scenario could involve Chinese investment banks which, Costigan points out, can structure finance agreements with a 3:1 debt-to-equity ratio. With one or more additional partners, Western could make the transition to a potash producer.

The company already has mining expertise, most notably with project director Richard Lock. In fact his career has been based on projects much more challenging than a southern Saskatchewan solution mine. While with Rio Tinto NYE:RIO, Lock took the Northwest Territories’ Diavik diamond mine from exploration to production. Among other accomplishments, he also acted as project director for Arizona’s Resolution project, now in pre-feasibility and potentially North America’s largest copper mine.

As for potential partners, discussions have picked up, Costigan says. “There’s renewed interest now. People think the market has settled. If we see prices rise, there’ll be even greater interest.”

The commodity’s long-term fundamentals remain strong, he says. Nothing’s stopping population growth. Meanwhile the global decline of arable land calls for ever-higher crop yields.

“Look at the growth in Chinese potash consumption—it’s definitely why our partners came in,” Costigan says. “They recognize they’re going to see big increases in their consumption. China’s ramping up their domestic supplies, they’re in Thailand, Africa, Kazakhstan. But when you look at the projects out there, there’s nothing that compares with Milestone for volume, quality, cost, location, infrastructure and political stability. There’s nothing that compares globally.”