"Brazil currently imports 98% of potash, and our project will be able to produce 20% of Brazil’s demand."

Adriano Espeschit

PRESIDENT, POTÁSSIO DO BRASIL

November 17, 2023

Can you update us on Potássio do Brasil?

Potássio do Brasil’s potash project is located in Autazes municipality, 120 km from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state. It is an underground potash mine with a beneficiation plant. Brazil currently imports 98% of potash, and our project will be able to produce 20% of Brazil’s demand. 

We just requested our installation license last week (August 2023), and we hope to break ground in the next two months.

What are the benefits of the project?

In the Autazes project we made 43 rows, each with more than 1,000 meters, and it defined the reserve. We have a reserve for 23 years, producing 2.2 million t/y. Because we have the potential to grow, we believe we can double it in the second phase or triple it in the third phase. 

We studied the impacts the mine will have on the town, intending to minimize or eliminate the negative ones and maximize the positive ones. We have committed to drawing 80% of our workforce from the region, training locals to gain the capacity to work for us. 

Why is Potássio do Brasil essential for Brazilian self-sufficiency?

The agribusiness in Brazil is enormous, making up around 28 to 30% of our GDP. We need fertilizers to continue growing the business – not just potash. We import about 85% of all fertilizers, including nitrogen and phosphates. The National Fertilizer Plan is a tool that can bring together all the actions that the government and the private sector must do to achieve a better result. For example, there is a goal to have a minimum of 2 million t/y of potash produced in Brazil by 2030. The only way to achieve this is with Potassio do Brasil’s Autazes project. There is no other project that will be able to achieve this goal in that time. We are essential to the government’s plans, and we have support from the local municipality government, the state government, and also from the federal government. This project is essential not only for Amazonas and Brazil, but also for the world, which will have 10 billion people by 2050, and we will need more food. 

How can Brazil grow its mining industry?

Brazil is a massive country with immense opportunities, but we need more exploration to improve our knowledge of our geological situation. As I mentioned, we have the second biggest river basin the world, and we still do not know how big it is. It is at least 400 kilometers, but we must carry out significant drilling to understand the basin in terms of the quality, the amount, and whether it is economical to produce. This is in reference to potash, but it is valid for all commodities. For example, in lithium, Sigma only started three years ago, and it is already a huge company. 

How is the project aligned with ESG goals?

We have a robust ESG approach because we are building in a place that is not a jungle. The area where the mine is was deforested and used for cattle before our arrival. Additionally, since the beginning, our project will be underground. Mining underground minimizes the impact on the surface. With an open pit, you have a vast area with significant waste. We will not produce any permanent waste because our waste will be salt, and then we will stockpile it until we have space underground to backfill. There will be zero tailings on the surface. The closure plan is stringent, intending to move 100% of the plant, leaving only the roads, which benefit the community, and the port, which can also help the community. 

What is your strategy for financing the construction?

We expect to carry out the project on time and budget. Our strategy for funding construction is divided between equity and financing. The BNDS is keen to finance our project, and we are talking with the development banks of several countries where we have suppliers. We will be financing around 70% and 30% equity, which is a substantial number for a project as large as ours. Our company is listed on the NYSE, closed capital. The company profile is about 35% UK, 23% Australian, 15% Canadian, and 13% Brazilian. 

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