KROPZ has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian firm PhosAgro Group aimed at an information share that could result in increasing the capacity of the South African firm’s Elandsfontein project, as well as other market and economic benefits.
“The synergies with PhosAgro will provide Kropz with access to expert knowledge at all stages of the supply chain,” said Ian Harebottle, CEO of Kropz in a statement. This would be from exploration and feasibility work to mine construction.
PhosAgro could also assist Kropz in sales where it has “a strong position” and “ever-growing customer base”, said Harebottle. He did not specify the things Kropz would supply in return for this information. The MoU was signed during the recent Russia–Africa Economic Forum in Sochi, Russia, convened by President Vladimir Putin.
Said Andrey Guryev, CEO of PhosAgro: “PhosAgro has numerous innovations that are of interest to our colleagues. We develop them at the world’s leading specialised research institute for fertilisers and agrochemicals, the Samoilov Research Institute, which is part of PhosAgro Group”.
A different line of cooperation was in “… the engagement with African governments” in order to improve fertilizer supply channels, said Guryev. The company delivered 300,000 tons of fertilizers annually a year to African with the intention of increasing supply “two or threefold over the next five years.
In an earlier announcement, Kropz said that the appeal hearing against Elandsfontein’s valid integrated water use licence which started on October 22 had been postponed. The final appeal hearing will now take place from December 11 to 13, it said.
African Rainbow Capital Investments (ARC), the Johannesburg-listed firm which has a 47% stake in Kropz plc, said in September that it had impaired its investment in Kropz by a quarter to R380m from R510m previously.
The investment in the asset level company, Kropz Elandsfontein, has been written down by the even greater amount of 75% – a reduction of R328m and R22m, the latter representing currency losses on shareholder loans.
First production from the mine is not expected this year after laboratory results of the Elandsfontein orebody demonstrated that the processing technology currently adopted is not a good fit. The mine’s commissioning is now long delayed: it was supposed to produce its first phosphate at the end of 2017.