The $178 million construction phase is expected to start late next year, employing up to 250 workers at its peak over 20 months while 150 staff would be needed to run the operation. The 2.5 million tonnes per annum 10-year project is estimated to earn $526 million from revenue of $1.08 billion.Unfortunately, the market response for Vital Metals on ASX has not been so positive in recent years:
The managing director of Vital Metals as reported by Nick Dalton in the Cairns Post is a Mr Mark Strizek. I can only presume this is the same Mark Strizek reported here by the ABC on Four Corners in 2010:
MARK STRIZEK, MINERALOGY GEOLIGIST (in helicopter, Pilbara): I mean we've got a truly world class, a huge iron ore deposit located right on the coast. We’re close to, it’s the first deepwater port that’s going to be built in the state for about 30 years or so.
SARAH FERGUSON: Mark Strizek is Clive Palmer’s chief geologist.
MARK STRIZEK: I think there's potential here between 50 to 100 years worth of iron ore product.
SARAH FERGUSON: Palmer’s first project here is being developed by Chinese owned Citic Pacific. They’re spending $US 5 billion to develop infrastructure, including a new port.
SARAH FERGUSON (to Mark Strizek): So that’s going to be Port Palmer?
MARK STRIZEK: That’s exactly right, yes, Port Palmer.
SARAH FERGUSON (to Mark Strizek): If we come back in five years there’ll be ships loaded on their way to China?
MARK STRIZEK: Absolutely, I think we’re going to see that at the end of this year or early next year, yes, definately.
SARAH FERGUSON (to Mark Strizek): So long as the boom keeps rolling in China you’ll be producing from here?
MARK STRIZEK: Absolutely. That’s right.
SARAH FERGUSON: The investment for this development was secured before the super profits tax was announced. But what about the project that Palmer said he had canned?
MARK STRIZEK: All approvals are done and we've also submitted the environmental approvals for the other, other three or four projects there.
There is no mention of the previous association with Professor Clive listed in Strizek's CV on the VML website. With more than 300 million shares on issue at less than 3c, a market cap of just $9 million and limited financial resources raising the substantial capital required to fund their 70% share of the project may be a dilution issue for existing shareholders.