Vatic Ventures Corporation is a Canadian public company listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V) under the symbol VCV, OTC Link ATS under the symbol VTTCF, and the Frankfurt Börse (FRA) under the symbol V8V3. In January 2017, Vatic acquired 80% of Saksrithai Development Co. Ltd., which holds two contiguous Special Prospecting Licenses (SPLs) covering an area of 32 km² for the exploration of potash. In February 2017, Vatic commenced the first phase of its exploration program. The first phase included an initial seismic survey of the license area and a drilling program will begin in early-2018. Vatic is also carrying out a community information program in the project area, concurrently with the first phase of field work. Other work will include a regional geological review and survey, satellite data interpretation, area mapping, a baseline environmental survey, and preliminary transportation and marketing studies.
The Saksrithai project is located in close proximity to the growing Southeast Asian markets and adjacent to a potash mine currently under construction. Thailand’s Khorat basin potentially holds the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade potash resources. The shallow depth to the potash deposits should result in lower capital and operating costs than most proposed (western) developments. Thailand’s proximity to key potash markets would result in lower transportation costs to regional markets. The project’s logistical advantages would contribute to a low cost structure compared to the major western producers. In Laos and Thailand there are currently numerous projects in the exploration and development stages, with several already in production in Laos. In 2014, the Thai Ministry of Industry set up a special steering committee to promote the development of the country’s potash resources. In 2017, the Mining Industry Council of Thailand together with the Thai Department of Primary Industries and Mines set up a Potash Working Group, which includes representatives from eight potash license holders in the country, including Vatic’s Saksrithai subsidiary.
Thailand is strategically located relative to the growing potash markets of Southeast Asia, where the major use of potash is for rice and palm oil cultivation. The Company’s marketing strategy will focus on meeting the increasing demand of the ASEAN countries of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. These four countries consume about 75% of Asian potash imports (excl. China and India). Proximity to target markets, combined with convenient and flexible transportation options, provide major transportation cost advantages (up to $60.00 per tonne) over Canadian and European suppliers.
The majority of the growth in potash demand is expected to occur in developing countries, with demand in developed countries remaining relatively flat. Asia currently consumes over 40% of global potash production and the Southeast Asia region is expected to see the highest growth rate in potash demand. The target markets of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam currently consume over 5 million tonnes (KCl) per annum, growing at an estimated rate of about 6% per annum. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest producers of palm oil, while Thailand and Vietnam are among the world’s leading producers of rice. The production of rice and palm oil account for some 70% of potash usage in the region.