VATIC Ventures Corp has completed a seismic program at the Saksrithai potash project in Nakon Ratchasima, Thailand. The program was designed to demonstrate continuity of the underlying geological structure and provide information regarding the depth to, and estimated thickness of, the potash-bearing layer.

Seismic contractor Geocon Co Ltd has completed 28km of 2-D seismic survey with the field data obtained processed by Velseis Pty Ltd, an Australian seismic exploration company providing a fully integrated range of seismic technologies.

The final report was expected to be available by the end of the June quarter, after which a preliminary drilling plan was to be developed. The initial drilling program will include up to 12 drill holes, to a depth of about 350 metres.

The project is owned by private Thai company Saksrithai Development Co Ltd, which is 80%-owned by Vatic.

Vatic Ventures’ CEO Dr Gerry Wright said, “The information obtained from the seismic survey will enhance our technical knowledge of the project area.”

Saksrithai Development holds two contiguous Special Prospecting Licences for potash exploration issued in 2015. The licences encompass 32sqkm in Nakon Ratchasima province, northeast Thailand and are adjacent to Thai Kali Company’s Dan Khun Thod potash mine, which is under construction.

Besra released from administration

Besra Gold advises that MNP Ltd has certified that Besra’s proposal, as filed with the official receiver on January 29, 2016 and amended on March 13, 2016 has been fully performed as of May 12. This means that the company has been released from administration.

Announcing receipt of the Certificate of Full Performance, Besra’s CEO John Seton said, “This brings to a close a particularly difficult period in our company’s history. We are very pleased to have resolved the creditor position and to have been formally released from administration.”

“Exploration has recommenced at our extensive Bau Goldfield property in East Malaysia and the company is working towards rebuilding shareholder value.”

Besra has also entered into an agreement to sell its interests in Vietnam to a new corporate entity to be established by former in-country senior management, Paul and David Seton, for assumption of existing trade creditor, tax and remediation liabilities totaling over US$25 million.

These assets comprise the Bong Mieu and Phuoc Son mines in Quang Nam province, and Besra Vietnam Limited, the in-country operating company. Disposal was a condition of the financing, which was concluded on November 17, 2016.

AMR signs Vietnam cobalt agreement

Asian Mineral Resources (AMR) has entered into a net smelter royalty (NSR) return agreement with Cobalt 27 Capital Corp related to the sale of cobalt by AMR from its Ta Khoa concession in Vietnam.

Under the terms of the NSR agreement, AMR will receive C$300,000 equivalent in common shares of Cobalt 27 in exchange for granting Cobalt 27 a 3% net smelter return on sales of cobalt from Ta Khoa.

The price per common share will be equal to the price per common share offered by Cobalt 27 pursuant to its offering of common shares under its preliminary prospectus dated April 21, 2017. Receipt of the common shares from Cobalt 27 as payment and the effectiveness of the NSR agreement are dependent on certain matters being completed, including receipt of material third party consents and closing of the Cobalt 27 offering, on or before September 30.

AMR owns and operates one of the world’s few sources of nickel sulphide ore, and is exploring for additional high-grade nickel assets in Vietnam.

AMR commenced commercial production from Ban Phuc Nickel Mine in Vietnam in mid-2013. As of June 30, 2016, the mine had produced a total of about 20,000 tonnes of nickel and about 10,000 tonnes of copper contained in concentrate, plus a cobalt by-product since the beginning of its mine life. Mining and processing were suspended in September 2016 and operations were transitioned to care and maintenance.

In addition to in and near-mine expansion projects, Ban Phuc provides a platform from which AMR can continue to focus on developing a new nickel camp within its 150sqkm of concessions throughout the prolific Song Da rift zone, where AMR has a number of advanced-stage exploration targets.

Kingsgate seeks range of Chatree remedies

Kingsgate Consolidated is seeking a range of remedies, including compensation, from the Thai Government for measures taken against the Chatree Gold Mine, which it says are in violation of the Australia - Thailand Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). The mine was placed on care and maintenance following cessation of production under Thai Government orders on December 31, 2016.

In April, Kingsgate notified the Thai Prime Minister that it wishes to engage in consultations as required under TAFTA.

Over the past 11 months, Kingsgate has made sustained, good faith efforts to engage with the Thai Government in relation to the measures against the Chatree Gold Mine that ultimately resulted in its premature closure. These efforts included numerous unanswered requests for meetings with Thailand’s Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet.

Regrettably, Kingsgate has now reached a position where it believes that the only option to resolve the situation is to exercise its rights as a protected Australian investor under TAFTA.

TAFTA was signed in 2004 between Thailand and Australia to promote and improve the environment for bilateral services, trade and investment. It came into force in 2005 and contains a range of investment protection provisions.

Amongst other things, these provisions guarantee certain rights to Australian investors in Thailand, including the right to seek impartial resolution of disputes with the Thai Government relating to covered investments by way of arbitration before an international tribunal.

The TAFTA consultations can take up to three months, and failing a mutual outcome, any international arbitration proceedings that may follow under TAFTA can take an undetermined amount of time to resolve.

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