Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before addressing today's business I would like to add to the comments I made in the Chairman's Report in the Company's 2012 Annual Report.
All of our projects are described in detail in the Annual Report and our Managing Director, Mr David Muller, will present a project update following the close of the formal meeting.
During the year under review intensive exploration and resource definition were completed at both the Ammaroo Phosphate and Karinga Creek Potash projects.
This work continued to confirm the large scale of both our fertiliser mineral projects.
- The extensive database for the Barrow Creek 1 Phospate Deposit (within the Ammaroo phosphate project - Rum 100%) is being evaluated to accurately define areas of shallow, easily extractable, high grade phosphorite requiring only minimum beneficiation to produce direct shipping product. (work has defined sufficient resources at Barrow Creek 1 for a 50 year mine life)
- At the Karinga Creek potash project (Rum 71%) work culminated in the release of an upgraded brine resource estimate released on November 5, 2012. A maximum inferred resource of 5.5 million tonnes of sulphate of potash at an average aquifer thickness of 15 metres and average depth to water table of 1 metre was announced. This equates to a maximum schoenite (potassium magnesium sulphate) resource of 13 million tonnes.
- Sulfate of potash and schoenite are used globally as high-end fertiliser products as they have a lower salt index than muriate of potash. Both sulphate of potash and schoenite attract premium pricing in comparison to the more common muriate of potash. The Karinga Creek Salt Lake Project is strategically well located adjacent to the Lasseter Highway and within close proximity to the Central Australian Railway line, providing access north to the Port of Darwin and proximity to Asian markets and South to domestic markets. Moreover, Australia currently imports all of its potash requirements.
Rum Jungle is clearly on the path to mine development and production of phosphate and potash products. This phase of Rum's development requires that we have Directors and Officers with the necessary experience and skill set to achieve mine development and production as successfully as the exploration phase has been.
This process has commenced and I warmly welcome Mr Chris Tziolis as Director of Development Projects. In this capacity Mr Tziolis will oversee all developments with respect to both the phosphate and potash projects.
Mr Tziolis joins Rum Jungle Resources from Rio Tinto where he has held various senior management roles over the last six years, most recently as the Chief Development Officer of the ASX listed Rio Tinto subsidiary and uranium miner, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. Other roles with Rio Tinto included Manager Business Development and Manager Rail and Port Infrastructure with Rio Tinto Coal Australia serving Rio Tinto's Queensland coal operations and Coal & Allied Industries Ltd.'s NSW coal operations. Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Mr Tziolis was a consultant with McKinsey & Company primarily engaged in strategy development and operational performance improvement projects with global mining companies. Prior to this, Mr Tziolis was an operations officer in the Royal Australian Navy, which included an appointment as the Commanding Officer of a Patrol Boat. Mr Tziolis is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management, A Master of Arts in International Relations (Deakin) and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (UNSW).
In this regard I also warmly welcome a new Director - Mr Jeffrey Landells. Mr Landells holds a BSc (Hons) in chemistry and was the General Manager of WMC's Fertilizer Operations at Phosphate Hill, Mt Isa and Townsville from 2002 to 2006. Prior to that he spent over 30 years in the pulp and paper industry in both Australia and New Zealand. He was the Group General Manager for PaperlinX at its Gippsland operations and General Manager at AMCOR's Maryvale operations.
To better understand the best development path for Barrow Creek 1 phosphate, the Company has commissioned a major engineering and construction group to undertake and complete a full scoping study. This will be completed by December 2012. This will allow a more comprehensive feasibility study to be completed by December 2013.
Whilst the company has sufficient ore resources to undertake a long-term mining operation at Barrow Creek 1, it will continue exploration over its substantial tenement holdings covering over 160 km strike length of the prospective phosphatic Arthur Creek Formation.
In conclusion, I extend my sincere appreciation to my fellow Directors for their support and wise advice and, on behalf of all the stakeholders, especially thank David Muller and his small team for their tremendous effort and outstanding exploration success.
About Verdant Minerals Ltd
Verdant Minerals Ltd's (ASX:VRM) strategic intent is to create shareholder value through the discovery, development and operation of fertiliser and industrial mineral projects, located in close proximity to existing transport infrastructure, with a primary focus on the Northern Territory of Australia.
Verdant Minerals Ltd