14 Mar 2012

Phosphate company attracts international shareholder

12:02 pm on 14 March 2012

A New Zealand company hoping to mine phosphate at the Chatham Rise has received financial support from an international investment firm, which is set to take a 20% stake in the company.

Chatham Rock Phosphate has an exploration license for more than 4200 square kilometres of seafloor 450km east of Wellington and is developing a project to mine phosphate for use as a fertiliser.

The company collected samples from Chatham Rise in December and February.

Chatham Rock Phosphate chief executive Chris Castle says the US-based Subsea Investments has committed several million dollars for work this year.

He said the company has agreed to issue 30 million shares at 20 cents, and Subsea Investments has attached 30-cent options for three years, which, if exercised, would mean a further $9 million coming in.

If the share issue is approved by shareholders at a special meeting in three weeks, Subsea will hold a 20% stake in the firm.

Mr Castle says the company will wait until overseas market conditions - in countries such as North America and Hong Kong - improve before listing on an overseas stock exchange.

He says the company plans to apply for a mining licence in late June with the intention of test mining in 2013 and moving to full production in 2014.