Wednesday 21st September 2011 2 Comments
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Chatham Rock Phosphate announced today it has commissioned two international specialists to study whether its resource can be beneficiated for less than the price difference with already-beneficiated rock imported from Morocco.
The joint venture involving Bateman Advanced Technologies, a chemical engineering consultancy, and a leading authority on phosphate beneficiation, together with mineral diagnostics specialist Mintek (South Africa's national mineral research organisation) was one of six international groups that submitted proposals to undertake the four-month study.
Rock phosphate is a key ingredient of fertiliser and can be applied directly to pastures. The deposits on the Chatham Rise could supply New Zealand’s agricultural needs for more than 25 years.
Chatham believes its product will be a cheaper, environmentally superior and politically more secure source of this resource critical to the production of food than imported product. Beneficiation is a way of increasing the value of rock phosphate by raising the level of phosphorous and lowering the calcium carbonate levels in rock phosphate to reduce transport costs and improve processing versatility.
“We see this as an opportunity to make our product even more attractive to potential customers,” Chatham Managing Director Chris Castle said. “We are also delighted New Zealand Trade and Enterprise shares our belief in the potential of our product which is very low in cadmium, has big transport and import substitution advantages and which we believe will offer more price certainty for users. Beneficiation may offer more processing options for manufacturers and greater export potential."
Chatham has an exclusive prospecting licence over 4276 sq km, 450 km east of Christchurch, within the Chatham Rise known to contain at least 25 million tonnes of medium grade rock phosphate.
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