06/03/14 – North Atlantic Iron corporation project update

The North Atlantic Iron Corporation (NAIC) is a private Canadian company established to develop a low cost merchant pig iron (MPI) business in Canada and/or the United States. NAIC’s strategy is to develop into a value-added manufacturing company producing MPI.

Petmin currently owns 30% of NAIC and has the right to invest a further $8m into NAIC for a further 10%, and an option to acquire a further 9.9% at a market related price. Petmin’s direct cost of its investment in NAIC to date is ZAR 144 million.

Petmin has joint management control of NAIC with its Canadian partner, Grand River Iron Sands Inc.

NAIC‘s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) will be published by the end of March 2014, and will indicate that Petmin’s investment in NAIC has the potential to materially enhance shareholder value.

NAIC has performed three successful smelt campaigns at its production facility in Forks, Pennsylvania, under the auspices of its independent experts, HATCH, and has successfully produced MPI using concentrate produced from Goose Bay iron sands and a number of different grades of coal.

Through the numerous PEA work streams NAIC has been able to refine its strategy and has developed a scalable business model which affords much greater flexibility in capital investment and operating costs. NAIC’s first plant will produce 810,000mt of MPI per year using concentrate from Goose Bay, or 874,000mt per year using higher grade concentrate from other sources.

NAIC will be one of the lowest cost producers of MPI in the world on a delivered basis to the electric arc furnace (EAF) steel industries of the United States and Europe.

The PEA indicates that NAIC’s MPI production costs will be 25% below the current lowest cost producer, yielding a project real internal rate of return (IRR) for its first plant, which meets Petmin’s internal hurdle rate of 20%.

NAIC will be able to achieve this due to a production process that utilises access to low-cost raw materials and electricity in the United States or Canada, proximity to markets in the United States and Europe, and the extensive infrastructure in place at potential sites under consideration for its plant.

NAIC is currently completing a comprehensive site selection process for the location of its first MPI plant, the favoured location being the Great Lakes region of North America.

In addition, NAIC has identified a potentially significant garnet and zircon credit in the Goose Bay iron sands which will be brought into the resource statement during the year ahead. This has the potential to significantly increase the value of the iron sands deposit.

Proposed further investment by Petmin in NAIC

On the basis of the work performed to date, Petmin intends to invest a further $8m to increase its interest in NAIC to 40%.

This funding will be from Petmin’s own resources and no further capital will be required from Petmin thereafter. NAIC will be expected to raise the capital required for further development.

To this end, Petmin is contemplating exchanging its 40% in NAIC for 40% of the shares in a Canadian company which will own 100% of NAIC and will be listed on the TSX and JSE.

Should this occur, Petmin intends to unbundle these shares to its shareholders. Further detail will follow in this regard in due course.

Once NAIC has been unbundled, it is the intention that members of the Petmin management will remain actively involved in the development of NAIC and secure long term value for Petmin’s shareholders. 

Petmin will continue with its strategy of investing in quality cash producing assets that produce commodities that feed into the steel and value chain, as well as considering various opportunities in the thermal coal market in South-Africa.

Source – petmin.co.za