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Gensource steps closer to first production with Innovare acquisition

Potash core from the Tugaske project. (Image courtesy of Gensource Potash).

Canadian potash upstart Gensource Potash Corporation (TSXV: GSP; AIM: GSP) has reached a binding agreement to buy the outstanding equity of Innovare Technologies, a privately-held developer of patented selective solution mining and brine processing technology to recover potash and other soluble minerals.

The deal, which values Innovare at US$11.5 million, is a strategic initiative by Gensource to consolidate the technology and intellectual property within the company to ensure that the work it is doing now for the first project (Tugaske, in Saskatchewan) is owned by Gensource and protected,” president and CEO Mike Furgeson tells The Northern Miner.

Gensource has worked with Innovare over the past six years to develop Gensource’s modular potash production module, earmarked for its first deployment at Tugaske.

“This initiative is about the first project and all those that follow – ensuring that we are maximizing shareholder value going forward for the investments being made now in the development of the Tugaske project,” he said.

“A key interest of sophisticated investors is understanding that the group they invest in has unique technology and techniques that differentiate it from the rest of the industry. {It’s also important to them] that the company controls the underlying technology to avoid other copycat developments that might undermine shareholder value (Gensource now has full control over the underlying technology),” Ferguson said in an exclusive emailed statement.

According to Ferguson, the acquisition will place the company in a strong competitive position in an industry dominated by producing facilities based on conventional 1950s and older technology. “With Innovare’s technology integrated into our business, we will have total control over production processes at the Tugaske project and future projects we anticipate rolling out in Saskatchewan and globally while also anticipating a reduction in life of mine costs,” he said.

Ferguson underlines that Gensource exists to provide an alternative supply option in the potash industry. “This will happen incrementally starting with the first project, Tugaske, and will expand with additional capacity at Tugaske and additional independent projects that will serve independent market areas.”

Ferguson says Gensource is creating the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ that it believes will diversify the potash supply base, providing incremental supply into a growing market and adding more and more independent suppliers. “The result will be more choice for the end-users and a more resilient supply chain for this strategic commodity,” said Ferguson.

Gensource is aiming to develop one of the lowest cost potash mines at its Tugaske project located 150 km northwest of Regina, is set to begin construction this year.

The construction is expected to take only two years, according to Ferguson, in part because of the Tugaske’s smaller scale compared with the larger mines that produce millions.

Once in operation, it will produce a minimum of 250,000 tonnes of potash per year. HELM Fertilizers, a US-based subsidiary of HELM AG, agreed to purchase 100% of the annual production from Tugaske.

The agreement remains subject to satisfying certain conditions precedent, including the approval of the TSXV, and is expected to close in the current quarter.

Gensource’s Toronto-quoted equity has gained 68% over the past 12 months to 37c per share, which gives it a market capitalization of $155.58 million.