Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean exploration, reported results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014.
The company’s operations during the quarter were primarily focused on the recovery of gold from the SS Central America shipwreck and support for the submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the “Don Diego” phosphate mineral deposit controlled by one of the company’s subsidiaries.
Third Quarter 2014 Operational and Financial Highlights
● Completed the 2014 season’s offshore operations at the SS Central America shipwreck site and recovered more than 15,500 silver and gold coins, 45 gold ingots, gold dust, nuggets, jewelry, and various other artifacts. Odyssey’s share of the expected proceeds from the recovered cargo is far in excess of the project costs and is expected to generate a significant profit margin to Odyssey;
● Environmental Impact Assessment for proposed dredging and recovery of phosphate sands from the “Don Diego” deposit was filed by Exploraciones Oceanicas with the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT);
● Received new data and analysis in an NI 43-101 compliant revised assessment completed by an independent expert that concludes the measured and indicated phosphorite resources in the “Don Diego” mineral deposit now total 327.2 million ore tonnes at 18.5% P2O5, an increase of 20% over the measurements reported in the first quarter of 2014. This assessment does not include concession areas where testing has not yet been conducted nor areas below the core sample depth where the core ended with full mineralization;
● Secured a new $10 million credit facility with a marketing partner and received the first $5 million on the facility in the quarter. Subsequent to the third quarter, Odyssey received a further $2.5 million of cash on the loan facility;
● Terminated the long term charter of the Dorado Discovery vessel, while maintaining a relationship with the ship owner that provides access to the vessel for future projects. This action and other cost savings should reduce monthly operational expenditures by 25% by 2015. The company also transferred some of the equipment from the Dorado Discovery to the Odyssey Explorer vessel to increase asset utilization.
Seabed Mineral Exploration Update
Odyssey controls subsidiaries that are engaged in the development of the “Don Diego” phosphate deposit in Mexico. Phosphate is a key natural ingredient of fertilizers and is considered a strategic economic resource.
In September, the Environmental Impact Assessment for proposed dredging and recovery of phosphate sands from the “Don Diego” deposit was filed with the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). The EIA consists of more than 4,600 pages that detail the extensive analyses, tests, reports and models contributed by outside experts and environmental scientists on the proposed program to extract the phosphate sands.
Experts in marine dredging, plume modeling, sound propagation, ecotoxicology, phosphate research and engineering all contributed to the extensive environmental studies and scientific findings that were incorporated in the EIA. A public hearing on the EIA was organized by SEMARNAT on November 5 in Mexico. The hearing was well-attended and included a productive presentation which featured an informed question and answer exchange and a forum to highlight the benefits of this project for Mexico.
A decision by the Mexican government on the “Don Diego” permit for commencing commercial operations is anticipated before year-end.
“The expert team on the ‘Don Diego’ phosphate project has provided outstanding work that culminated in the recent EIA submission and successful SEMARNAT public hearing. The size, quality, and validation of this deposit has allowed us to enter talks with interested strategic partners,” stated John Longley, Odyssey’s chief operating officer. “I have spent the past several weeks evaluating our portfolio of future shipwreck and mineral exploration projects and in both areas there is a long list of high-value projects that I am confident will generate the levels of financial returns which will create significant shareholder value.”