- Successful Initial Brine Transfer from Pre-Concentration Pond to First Harvest Pond (H1)
- 110 tonnes of pre-concentrated brine transferred into H1
- From this evaporation cycle, 22 tonnes of harvested potassium salts will be produced yielding 2 tonnes of SOP
- APC will produce 250 kilograms of SOP trade samples in an initial production run for delivery to MOU Offtake Partners Q4 2018
The pilot pond network at Lake Wells comprises 1 large pre-concentration pond and 3 smaller, harvest ponds. The raw, hypersaline brine was pumped into the pre-concentration pond using one of the five (5) already installed production bores at the project.
As the brine evaporates further through the harvest ponds, various sodium and magnesium salts are crystallised out of it until it becomes highly concentrated with potassium bearing salts. It is anticipated that the final transfer of brine into the final harvest pond will occur within the next 4 - 6 weeks, resulting in the crystallisation of 'feeder' or harvest salts in the harvest ponds. It is from these blended harvest salts that SOP is processed and refined.
The pilot evaporation pond program is anticipated to produce approximately 22 tonnes of harvest salts, from which an estimated 2 tonnes of SOP can eventually be refined. In the initial production run, approximately 250 kilograms of trade samples of SOP will be produced. The Company's processing consultants, Novopro will manage the production of SOP over the final stages of the process, with that company's lead expert being present in Perth for the duration.
Managing Director Matt Shackleton commented: "Across the four major work streams we are progressing through the definitive feasibility study, the pilot ponds generate data essential to our understanding of the climatic-evaporation conditions, and the quality and amount of potassium salts we are able to produce. This successful initial transfer of pre-concentrated brine into H1 represents a major step in these areas.
"Based on modelled average daily evaporation rates, we anticipate the evaporation process will be finished in the next 4 - 6 weeks. As evaporation rates are heavily correlated to daily temperatures, this process will speed up as we head into the hot part of the year.
"With the expected 250 kilograms of trade samples of SOP we will produce from the initial production run, we will look to continue our engagement with our MOU partners in China. Our aim through Q4 2018 is to move these MOU positions to formal, offtake discussions."
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About Australian Potash Ltd
Australian Potash Limited (ASX:APC) is an ASX-listed Sulphate of Potash (SOP) developer. The Company holds a 100% interest in the Lake Wells Potash Project located approximately 500kms northeast of Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields.
Following the release of a Scoping Study in 2017, APC has been conducting a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) into the development of the Lake Wells Potash Project. The Company is aiming to release the findings of the DFS in H2 2019.
The Lake Wells Potash Project is a palaeochannel brine hosted sulphate of potash project. Palaeochannel bore fields supply large volumes of brine to many existing mining operations throughout Western Australia, and this technique is a well understood and proven method for extracting brine. APC will use this technically low-risk and commonly used brine extraction model to further develop a bore-field into the palaeochannel hosting the Lake Wells SOP resource.
A Scoping Study on the Lake Wells Potash Project was completed and released on 23 March 2017. The Scoping Study exceeded expectations and confirmed that the Project's economic and technical aspects are all exceptionally strong, and highlights APC's potential to become a significant long-life, low capital and high margin sulphate of potash (SOP) producer.
Managing Director and CEO