TORONTO, April 11, 2013 /CNW/ - EPM Mining Ventures Inc. ("EPM" or the "Company") (TSXV: EPK) (OTCQX: EPKMF) announced an update on its ongoing Preliminary Feasibility Study ("PFS") by CH2M HILL Engineers, Inc. ("CH2") and Agapito Associates, Inc. ("AAI"), for the production of Sulfate of Potash ("SOP") from its Sevier Playa Project (the "Project") located in southwestern Utah.
The estimated completion date of the PFS remains mid-2013 which will provide the foundation for the Company's Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS), anticipated to be completed by late-2013. The PFS will build upon the Preliminary Economic Assessment filed in November 2012 that indicated SOP production of 300,000 metric tonnes ("MT") with a 30-year mine life, an estimated Net Present Value of $629.7 million (after-tax, inflated, 8% discount rate), and an estimated Internal Rate of Return of 24% (after tax, inflated).
Lance D'Ambrosio, Chief Executive Officer of EPM, said; "Significant work has been completed and we are very satisfied with the progress we are making to advance our PFS and environmental permitting. All efforts are moving along well, so we remain on track and look forward to completing our studies on schedule."
In support of the PFS, EPM completed an eighteen-hole sonic drilling program designed to provide additional hydrogeologic information and to finalize the data required to convert its resources into reserves. The drilling program, conducted between mid-February and late-March, was supervised by CH2 and AAI, with support from Boart Longyear. Hydrology testing began in early April and is currently being carried out by CH2 and Colog.
CH2 has made significant progress in design, engineering, and process work for the PFS in the following areas:
- Geotechnical drilling in the proposed plant site area has been completed;
- Nine additional hydrology wells have been added to the regional hydrology network;
- Utility site surveys are underway;
- Process alternatives have been further refined based on a thermodynamic model developed by equipment manufacturer Swenson Technology, Inc., and test work is currently being organized to validate the results of the model; and
- Bench scale evaporation testing is well advanced with Hazen Research, Inc.
AAI continues to advance its work on the Sevier Playa system (the "System") with the following progress on:
- Design and oversight of the hydrogeological and hydrophysical field testing program;
- Development of hydrogeologic models for the System, with the ultimate objective of transitioning resources to reserves;
- Review and characterization of drilling logs and physical and chemical data;
- Evaluation of trench sidewall stability; and
- Initiation of capital expenditure trade-offs and evaluations for mining on the playa.
EPM continues to examine potential optimizations and improvements to the Project, with a view of further reducing project risks, refining capital and operating costs, and potentially allowing for an earlier plant commissioning date when compared to the current Project configuration.
The Company's environmental permitting efforts have continued in earnest and are on schedule. These efforts have included progress on the mining plan with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") and Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining; the Environmental Impact Statement with the BLM; the 404 permit with the Army Corps of Engineers; the Air Approval Order with the Utah Division of Air Quality; and water appropriation with the Utah State Engineer.
EPM is also pleased to provide an update on the extensive analysis of its SOP market opportunity and distribution strategies. Parthenon Group LLC ("Parthenon") continues its progress on a Market Assessment and Strategy Study ("Market Study") for use in the PFS and DFS. Besides the U.S., extensive research efforts have been underway in Brazil, China, and India utilizing Parthenon's Mumbai and Shanghai offices. To date, Parthenon has conducted significant primary and secondary research, including numerous interviews with agronomists, farmers, distributors, and industry experts, both in the U.S. and abroad, as it continues to gather domestic and international demand, pricing, sales, and distribution data. These efforts are on-track with the Market Study anticipated to be completed in April.
About EPM Mining Ventures
EPM, through its wholly owned subsidiary Peak Minerals Inc., controls directly or through agreement, mineral leases on more than 124,000 acres on the Sevier Playa property in Millard County, Utah, EPM is targeting the future development and production of Sulfate of Potash (SOP), a premium priced fertilizer used with special crops and arid soils, using an industry proven, cost-effective solar evaporation process.
For more information on the Company, please visit our web site at www.epmmining.com.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
SOURCE: EPM Mining Ventures Inc.
For further information:
Chief Executive Officer
EPM Mining Ventures Inc.
(416) 815-0700 ext. 267