AUSTRALIA’S FYI Resources has lodged applications for special prospecting licences (SPL) covering potential high grade potash targets in Thailand’s northeast. FYI says Thailand is a net importer of fertilizer for its considerable agricultural industries.

The FYI Board says it is pleased to announce the applications for the Khorat Plateau province as a key follow-on from the company’s decision last November to add a South East Asian potash strategy to its uranium exploration pursuits in Western Australia.

FYI has established an office in Thailand and is finalizing requisite corporate, technical, human resources and contractual issues ahead of moving onto site once the SPL applications are granted. The company has also established an in-country technical and administrative team of locals and expatriate professionals who have many years’ experience in potash exploration and development in Thailand.

“Of the immediate objectives we needed to accomplish, the submission of the SPLs is of the most strategic value to the company, and demonstrates the effort we are putting behind this new opportunity,” FYI’s chief executive officer Roland Hill says.

“The applications cover 96sqkm in Thailand’s northeast where proven but heavily under-explored deposits include the existence of an underlying (buried) evaporite basin in which shallow potash bearing horizons have been identified from historic and extensive regional diamond drilling.

“FYI’s assessment is that those drill results are analogous to the licence areas applied for by us. Based on the early work there, the potash horizon may offer a number of potential advantages over current potash production in other parts of the world due to its shallow occurrence, significant widths and high grades. Those factors lend weight to opportunities for relatively cheap capital development and operating costs if a high grade, large tonnage potash inventory is defined.”

FYI said in November that based on current global food trends and crop rotations, the Thai potash strategy offered measurable upside for involvement in the exploration and development of high grade, large tonnage potash deposits in a region already known for its significant potash reserves.

“Thailand is a net importer of potash and other fertilizer products. The country is also in close proximity to large South East Asian, Chinese and Indian markets which would contribute positively to the economics of any new regional potash supplier in the vicinity,” Roland Hill says.

“Asia’s current potash consumption accounts for around 43% of global demand and, with very little domestic supply, the region offers potentially compelling new market opportunities. The current global supply of potash is highly concentrated, the market has annual production of around 50 million tonnes but is in deficit, and demand is growing annually at 3-4%, with forecast demand by 2015 of 63 million tonnes increasing to 75 million by 2020.”

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