西钾公司公布首份麦尔史东项目资源评估结果,宣布完成资源界定勘探

Western Potash Corp. (the “Company”) (TSX.V: WPX, FSE: AHE) is pleased to announce the receipt of an NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource Estimate for its Milestone property in southern Saskatchewan.  This initial resource estimate consists of 32 million tonnes of indicated potash resource (contained KCl) plus 230 million tonnes of inferred potash resource.  The resource estimate at Milestone was prepared by Agapito Associates Inc. (“AAI”) of Grand Junction, Colorado.

AAI has extensive experience in solution mining, resource characterization and preparation of 43-101 Technical Reports on Potash Resources. AAI’s experience includes work for Intrepid Potash Inc in the US, Rio Tinto and Vale at the PRC project in Argentina and for several prospective potash projects located in Saskatchewan.

A summary of the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource within Crown and Leased Freehold Areas is presented in Table 1 and 2 respectively.

Table 1. Indicated Mineral Resource within Crown and Leased Freehold Areas Only*

Bed

Average KCL
Grade (%)

In-place
Tonnage (Mt)

In-Place KCL
Tonnage (Mt)

KCL
Resource** (Mt)

Patience Lake

28.92

345.72

99.99

23.66

Belle Plaine

26.67

135.38

36.10

8.54

Total

28.37

481.10

136.09

32.21

* Search Radius of 1.6 Km (1 mile) used; Mt = million tonnes
** Resource accounts for geologic anomalies (10%), extraction ratio (34.6%) and cavern liquor, plant and transport losses (24%).

Table 2. Inferred Mineral Resource within Crown and Leased Freehold Areas Only*

Potash Hosting Bed

Average KCL
Grade (%)

In-place
Tonnage (Mt)

In-Place KCL
Tonnage (Mt)

KCL
Resource (Mt)**

Patience Lake

28.83

3,090.49

891.06

175.73

Belle Plaine

27.32

1,012.71

276.64

54.56

Total

28.45

4,103.19

1,167.70

230.29

* Search Radius of 8 Km (5 mile) used; Mt = million tonnes
** Resource accounts for geologic anomalies (25%), extraction ratio (34.6%) and cavern liquor, plant and transport losses (24%).

The President of the Company, Patricio Varas was pleased with the resource estimate commenting that: “our board is extremely satisfied with the initial results of the resource calculation, considering that it only reflects the first 4 wells drilled at Milestone.  We anticipate that the resource in the indicated and measured categories will be enhanced by the additional 5 wells that have now been completed. This resource calculation is only the beginning”.  He further commented that “the Company will now fundamentally change from a pure exploration company to one that is poised to begin the development of Saskatchewan’s newest green-field discovered Potash mineral resource in decades.”

In their report, AAI have made estimates of the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources based on a Radius of Influence (ROI) similar to that applied by mine operators and peer group explorers working on solution mining properties in the region.  Furthermore, the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources were arrived at by discounting the overall calculated tonnage by Loss Factors of 25% and 10% to the Inferred and Indicated Resources respectively, to account for unknown geologic anomalies; the resulting potash quantity was further reduced using an extraction ratio factor of 34.6%, which is the estimated potash available to be extracted for the life of an envisioned operation leaving sufficient material to support cavern stability;  a further 24% was discounted to account for potash liquor remaining in the cavern plus plant and transport losses during production.

For clarity the calculation used to arrive at the Indicated resource is as follows: Indicated Tonnes in situ x 90% (Geological loss) x 34.6% (extraction ratio) x 76% (liquor & infrastructure losses) = Indicated Resource (resulting in a credit of only 24% of the total indicated Tonnes in situ).  Similarly the calculation used to arrive at the Inferred resource is as follows: Inferred Tonnes in situ x 75% (Geological loss) x 34.6% (extraction ratio) x 76% (liquor & infrastructure losses) = Inferred Resource (about 20% of the total inferred Tonnes in situ). 

Figure 1. Well Distribution for the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource Calculation.

In calculating the initial mineral resource AAI incorporated historical information available from public sources as well as new resource information obtained from exploration conducted by Western Potash between January and August 2009.  Exploration conducted during that time included the purchasing, processing and interpretation of 283.5 line km of historic 2D seismic, and the completion of four exploration wells totaling 7,198 meters completed within the KP 409 permit area.  All four of the wells drilled, spanning some 12.5 kilometers of strike length (Fig 1), penetrated the potash-bearing beds and have sufficient assayed core to allow for the calculation of potash mineralization thickness and grade.

Ongoing Definition Drilling Program

In their report AAI recommends a two phased development program that includes an additional five well drill program on the Milestone Property as well as extensive 2D and 3D seismic surveys in order to prepare an updated NI 43-101compliant report that will upgrade a greater proportion of the inferred category tonnage into the indicated and measured categories

The Company is pleased to report that in anticipation of the favorable Mineral Resource results reported in this release, it has already completed the five wells recommended in the AAI report; as well as, the acquisition, processing and interpretation of 179 line kilometers of 2D seismic.  Initial results for the first two wells in the expanded definition program were reported on December 3rd, 2009 and include a 23.35 m composite intersection of potash mineralization with a weighted average grade of 17.35 wt % K2O across three potash members, and a second well with a 22.25 m composite intersection of potash mineralization with a weighted average grade of 19.89 wt % K2O across three potash members.  Results from the remaining wells will be reported when the analyses are completed.  A map of all the wells completed is included in figure 2.

The Company is also pleased to announce that it has initiated its 3D seismic survey on the property, following the granting of all required permits, approvals and permissions. It is expected that this survey will be completed in the current quarter.

The Company anticipates that it will commence a preliminary economic assessment of the Milestone Project as soon as the current definition phase is completed.  The preliminary economic assessment will aim to conceptualize the viability of a potash mining operation on the Milestone property.  The assessment will place particular focus on quantifying the expected beneficial effects that the higher Potash formation temperatures measured at Milestone may have on reducing the energy requirements of a Potash operation, so as to estimate potential operating cost savings.

The Company believes that the formation temperatures, measured from the potash beds in the Milestone property ranging from 60° C to 65.5° C, represent an important factor for the economics of future mining on the property.  The solubility of potash increases with temperature such that the higher the formation temperature, the higher the yield of potassium chloride in the brine solution to be processed for potash recovery.  A solution mine, accessing a higher formation temperature resource, will produce more potassium chloride in solution than an operation tapping an equivalent resource at lower formation temperatures. The Company views formation temperature as a key parameter in solution mining economics, offering advantages in solution mass-balance and savings in capital, energy and processing costs.

Figure 2: Milestone Property Well Location Map.

The 100% owned Milestone property, comprising 500 square kilometers, is located 30 kilometers southeast of Regina, and southeast of Mosaic’s Belle Plaine Mine, one of the largest producing potash solution mines in the world.

About Western Potash

Western Potash Corp. is a mineral exploration company engaged in the evaluation, exploration and development of potash mineral properties in Western Canada. The Company intends to define and develop a world-class potash deposit in an ecologically sustainable, economically efficient and socially responsible manner.

This news release was reviewed by Dr. Michael Hardy P.E., and Douglas Hambley P.E. and P. Geo., of Agapito Associates Inc. Both individuals are Qualified Persons under NI 43-101 Rules and Policies and are the authors of the updated NI 43-101 Technical Report on which this news release is based.

The in-house qualified persons for the purposes of NI 43-101 guidelines are J. Patricio Varas, P. Geo and Dean Pekeski, P. Geo, both of whom have reviewed and approved the contents of this news release.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

“J. Patricio Varas”     
J. Patricio Varas
President and CEO

This news release contains Forward Looking Statements regarding our intentions and plans. Forward looking statements in this news release include that the initial resource estimate consists of 32 million tonnes of indicated potash resource (contained KCl) plus 230 million tonnes of inferred potash resource; that the Western Potash board anticipate that the resource in the indicated and measured categories will be enhanced by the additional 5 wells that have now been completed; that the resource calculation is only the beginning; that the Company will now fundamentally change from a pure exploration company to one that is poised to begin the development of Saskatchewan’s newest greenfield discovered Potash mineral resource in decades; that AAI recommends a two phased development program that includes an additional five well drill program as well as extensive 2D and 3D seismic surveys to prepare an updated NI 43-101 report that will upgrade a greater proportion of the inferred category tonnage into the indicated and measured categories; that results from the remaining wells drilled will be reported when the analyses are completed; it has initiated its 3D seismic survey on the property and that it expects that this survey will be completed in the current quarter; that the Company anticipates that it will commence a preliminary economic assessment of the Project as soon as the current definition phase is completed; that the preliminary economic assessment will aim to conceptualize the viability of a potash mining operation on the property; that the assessment will place particular focus on quantifying the expected beneficial effects that the higher Potash formation temperatures measured may have on reducing the energy requirements of a Potash operation, so as to estimate potential operating cost savings; that the Company believes that the formation temperatures, represent an important factor for the economics of future mining on the property; that the Company views formation temperature as a key parameter in solution mining economics, offering advantages in solution mass-balance and savings in capital, energy and processing costs; that Agapito Associates Inc. of Golden, Colorado has also been engaged to complete an NI-43-101 compliant indicated and inferred resource calculation based on the results of the expanded definition drill and seismic program; It is the Company’s policy not to update forward looking statements. Various factors may prevent or delay our plans, including but not limited to, contractor availability and performance, weather, access, mineral prices and success and failure of the exploration and development carried out at various stages of the program.  Readers should review risk factors applicable to junior mining exploration companies generally to understand the variety of risks that can affect the Company.  

The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

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