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Minbos Resources updates Cabinda phosphate definitive feasibility study

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World Fertilizer,

Due to strong potential local demand for raw phosphate rock (PR), Minbos Resources has decided to include new plant configurations to capture current market opportunities in the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Cabinda phosphate project in Angola.

Fertilizer prices have broken new records as global supplies are hit by multiple factors including the war in Ukraine, Chinese fertilizer export bans and supply chain inflation, with prices for raw materials that make up processed fertilizers - ammonia, potash, phosphates, sulfur – rising 30% since the start of the year.

Globally, phosphate markets are surging, propelled by buyer concerns that major disruption to global ammonia supplies could, in the near-term, lead to DAP and MAP production cuts. More critically, supply constraints are accentuated in smaller markets with consumers and importers in Angola unable to source MAP and DAP regardless of price.

MAP and PR are the key ingredients in Cabinda phosphate granules. While the company’s PR is still available at cost, at current prices, MAP would comprise approximately 90% of the cost of raw material input costs for the granules, having a large and outsized impact on product pricing.

Minbos and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) are now planning a role for the company’s beneficiated PR to be used in the Angolan Farm and Fertilizer Productivity Program (AFFPP).

Minbos has recently been approached by regional mega farms and distributors, representing more than 60 000 hectares, regarding the availability of beneficiated Cabinda Phosphate Rock (CPR).

Preliminary analysis using a Phosphate Rock Decision Support System (PRDSS) has demonstrated the potential for CPR to be a viable nutrient source for the majority of new agricultural projects in Angola and, more importantly, cost-competitive in the current market.

Field trials in Angola over the last three seasons compared Cabinda granules with MAP and CPR demonstrating the efficacy of CPR for staple crops like beans and in some trials even outperforming MAP. The company has received multiple requests for its CPR from exporters, importers and customers interested in both beneficiated and raw PR.

The granulation flow sheet was designed to be flexible allowing for different products and formulations to be produced. An external review of the flowsheet by the IFDC concluded that the current plant is capable of producing beneficiated PR-based products with minor modifications. The mass and energy balances can be simply calculated and will verified in a pilot plant trial scheduled in early June.

Updating the DFS requires updating the production flowsheet which can be repurposed to switch from granulation to PR beneficiation campaigns with relatively minor changes.

The engineering calculations will be completed in the coming weeks and will be confirmed in the next pilot trial scheduled for the second week of June at the IFDC Headquarters. This trial will produce 7 t of product for agronomic demonstration trials in Angola later this year. The engineering component of the revised DFS can be completed in approximately 3 months and the company will provide an update on the market component after technical discussions with new potential customers. Meanwhile, the company will continue to build its phosphate plant through its EPCM contractors.

CEO Lindsay Reed said: “It has been a remarkable few weeks and months for Minbos with seemingly unlimited new business opportunities presenting themselves. What is clear however is that the local appetite for our Phosphate is both real and large.

Given the Company was completing a DFS which produced a fertilizer blend of MAP and Phosphate Rock, we have taken the decision to widen the scope of the DFS to include both blended fertilizer and beneficiated phosphate rock.

The Company is confident it can achieve similar returns, reduce working capital requirements, reduce customer outlays and possibly accelerate the timetable to full plant utilisation – all without delaying the plant commissioning.

We look forward to finalising the DFS which, if implemented, will provide greater food security to the Angola and the wider middle-Africa region.”

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