Australian Potash Ltd has completed the final transfer of brine into Harvest Pond 3 at the Lake Wells Sulphate of Potash (SOP) project’s pilot evaporation pond network in Western Australia.
Australian Potash Managing Director, Matt Shackleton, said: “With this transfer of brine into the final harvest pond, the pilot evaporation pond programme is rapidly concluding.
“Once the evaporation step is complete, which we anticipate in the next 14 – 21 days, a blend of about 2 t of the potassium rich salts from all the harvest ponds will be processed into Australian Potash Ltd SOP at the company’s purpose-built pilot processing plant. The production of SOP in Perth will be supervised by one of Novopro’s expert engineers on secondment to APC.
“We plan to provide trade samples of APC’s Lake Wells SOP to our existing MOU-off-take partners, Sino-Agri and Hubei-Agri, as we look to move the relationships with those parties to a more formal off-take position. We are also constantly engaged with Australian users and Australian Potash Ltd distributors of SOP, and we look forward to providing evidence of the quality of our product to those parties too,” Shackleton added.
With granted mining leases in place, the Lake Wells SOP Project is targeting the production of 150 000 tpy through an initial Stage-1 development, rising to 300 000 tpy on development of Stage-2. Costs of production place the project in the lowest quartile on the global operating costs curvei.
Located just 280 km from bulk rail terminals at Leonora, the Lake Wells SOP Project is well supported by local government. The Shire of Laverton allows APC to off-set annual rates payable on the recently granted Mining Leases against the maintenance and upgrade of the Lake Wells access road. In addition to this, the Shire has committed to sealing the surface of the Great Central Road a further 100 km east of Laverton, effectively providing APC with an additional 70 km of sealed road in its infrastructure solution.
Australian Potash has in place Memorandums of Understanding with two of China’s largest agricultural companies for a combined 200 000 tpy of off-take.
The company is conducting a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) into the development of a solar salt SOP operation at Lake Wells and is targeting 1H19 to release the findings of this DFS.