TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Verde Potash (TSX: "NPK") ("Verde" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the results of tests establishing that the quality of coffee, when grown using ThermoPotash, is higher than the quality of coffee grown using potassium chloride ("KCl"). Contrary to an identical test crop fertilized with KCl, the ThermoPotash fertilized coffee reached the standard of specialty coffee, a category that commands a premium price.
Cristiano Veloso, President & CEO, commented: "Over one third of the world's coffee production is grown less than a 10 hour drive from the Cerrado Verde Project. On average, coffee requires up to three times more potash than soybeans and two times more potash than corn each year. ThermoPotash can potentially supply this market and be a key determinant in producing superior quality coffee which justifies a higher price."
The field tests were led by the Agricultural Research Company of Minas Gerais ("EPAMIG"), a public company that is the main agriculture research institute in the state of Minas Gerais. Coffee produced during EPAMIG field trials (see press release dated September 12, 2013) was sent to independent experts at Cooxupé, a leading Brazilian coffee cooperative that is the world's largest individual coffee exporter. Experts at Cooxupé then sampled the coffee as per the guidelines of the Specialty Coffee Association of America ("SCAA"), under pre-established quality criteria for physical and sensory attributes. Coffee grown with ThermoPotash received an average grade of 83 out of 100 points, a measurement that qualifies the coffee as specialty coffee. The grade for the same harvested coffee but grown using KCl was an average of 73 points. Coffee must receive a grade of 80 or above to be regarded as specialty coffee.
As per the Company's press release dated September 12, 2013, field tests conducted by Verde in conjunction with EPAMIG demonstrated that ThermoPotash was more efficient in the delivery of potassium than KCl generating an equivalent coffee yield while using 36% of the potash that was applied to the KCl test plots.
The premium coffee sector, which accounts for approximately 20% of the coffee market, is growing rapidly as consumers seek better tasting coffee. High quality beans from Latin America are attracting large premiums and sell for about three times the market price at auction.
The Brazilian Coffee Market
Brazil's climate and topography allow for ample production of coffee, ranking the country as the world's largest producer of coffee, accounting for 37% of the world's coffee supply, and is its second consumer market. More than half of Brazil's coffee production and 25% of the world's coffee production takes place in Minas Gerais state, where the Company's Cerrado Verde Potash Project is located. In 2012, Minas Gerais state's coffee exports were valued at US$3.8 billion making Brazil one of the largest coffee exporters in the world. Over the next ten years, the Brazilian market expects significant growth of approximately 10% in domestic demand for specialty coffees (annual growth of 1% per year). This is in addition to the current consumption growth rate of 4.8% per year.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SSCA) is a civil trade organization founded in 1982 with the goal of bringing together producers of specialty coffee, multiplying the production of specialty coffees, stimulating continuous technological improvement and raising standards of efficiency in services related to the marketing of these coffees. Members of SSCA include retailers, roasters, producers, exporters and importers as well as manufacturers of coffee equipment and related products.
The Agricultural Research Company of Minas Gerais ("EPAMIG") was created as a public company in 1974. It is the main institution for agricultural research in Minas Gerais state; its mission is to provide solutions for the agronomic sector, generate and adapt technological alternatives, offer specialized services, technical training, skilled inputs compatible with the needs of farmers and positively impact the population's quality of life.
About Verde Potash
Verde Potash, a Brazilian fertilizer development company, is focused on advancing the Cerrado Verde project located in the heart of Brazil's largest agriculture market. Cerrado Verde is the source of a potash-rich deposit from which the Company intends to produce both ThermoPotash and potassium chloride (KCl). ThermoPotash is a controlled-release, non-chloride, multi-nutrient fertilizer that is ideally suited for Brazilian soils. In addition, the Company is developing its Calcario limestone project, limestone being a key raw material in the Company's process to produce both ThermoPotash and KCl.
About the Cerrado Verde Potash Project
Cerrado Verde is a unique project: 1) its high grade potash rock outcrops and is amenable to strip mining, allowing fast construction of a scalable operation; 2) it is located in the midst of the world's third largest and fastest growing fertilizer market; 3) it connects to Brazil's largest fertilizer distribution districts via existing and high quality infrastructure; 4) it has the potential to supply both ThermoPotash and KCl to Brazil's local agriculture market from its large potash-rich deposit.
Cautionary Language and Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains certain forward-looking information, which includes but is not limited to, statements with respect to the Company's strategy, funding of the Cerrado Verde project, the commercial production of ThermoPotash, and the generation of cash flow from the sale of ThermoPotash. Forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to differ materially from the forward-looking information. Material risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, the failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, failure to receive funding, failure to obtain financing on acceptable terms, risks associated with the mining industry in general (e.g., operational risks in development, exploration and production; delays or changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects or capital expenditures; the uncertainty of estimates and projections relating to production, costs and expenses, and health, safety and environmental risks), commodity price, demand for ThermoPotash in Brazil, exchange rate fluctuations and other risk factors set out in the Company's most recently filed Annual Information Form under the heading "Risk Factors". Currently, ThermoPotash is not commercially produced or sold in Brazil. As a consequence, there is no current market for this product. Should commercial demand for ThermoPotash fail to develop, the Company's business model may not be appropriate. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking information. Material factors or assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, the demand for ThermoPotash and KCl in Brazil, the ability to secure necessary environmental and mining permits, the ability to secure financing, and other assumptions set out in the Company's current technical report. The Company does not currently intend to update forward-looking information in this news release except where required by law.
Readers are cautioned not to rely solely on the summary of such information contained in this release and are directed to the complete corporate history available on Verde's website (http://www.verdepotash.com) and filed on SEDAR (http://www.sedar.com) and any future amendments to such. Readers are also directed to the cautionary notices and disclaimers contained herein.
 Morton-Clark, Seb and Terazono, Emiko. "Coffee connoisseurs boost high-end market." ft.com. Financial Times. 5 Feb. 2014. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.
For further information:
Cristiano Veloso, President & Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +1(416)866-2966; Fax: +1(416)866-8829; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Iwona Zakrzewski, Investor Relations
Tel: +1(647)295-8120 / +1(416)866-2966; ext. 224; Fax: +1(416)866-8829; Email: email@example.com
SOURCE Verde Potash Plc