Australian Potash has successfully intersected brines in recent deep aircore drilling at its Lake Wells sulphate of potash project located near Laverton in WA. All new drill holes ended in permeable deep sand aquifers suitable for abstracting the drainable mineral commodity. The new data should allow an upgrade of the existing resources into the measured status of classification, ahead of the company’s highly anticipated DFS.
ASX listed potash development company, Australian Potash, has enjoyed further success with the drill bit with a deep infill and extensional aircore drilling program across its Lake Wells project, located 180km northeast of Laverton in the Goldfields region of WA.
The company said that it had intersected permeable deep sand aquifers containing the sought after drainable mineral commodity in every new drill hole.
Some holes produced such high volumes of brine that drilling speeds were actually reduced during those sections of the hole.
Australian Potash completed the program to increase the confidence levels in the existing Lake Wells sulphate of potash brine resource by collecting new assay and water flow data to support the hydrological model.
This new information should allow an upgrade of the existing resources into a high-confidence measured status of classification which will further underwrite ore reserves for the project.
Additionally, some extensional drill holes were completed outside the limits of the current resource model, potentially increasing resources further in the centre and southern sections of the project area.
Any increase in the mineral resource estimate for Lake Wells also has the capacity to add longevity to the current mine plan by escalating output from an expanded, staged development scenario that has been proposed for the project.
According to the company, the completed program represents a major milestone in the resource and abstraction work stream in support of the ongoing DFS, due for completion in the first half of 2019.
Australian Potash Managing Director Matt Shackleton said: “We are in the geologically favourable position at our Lake Wells SOP project where we don’t … rely on trenching to abstract the potassium rich brine. A long, deep and broad palaeochannel affords … the low risk, all-weather bore field abstraction method utilised at hundreds of mining operations across the country to abstract brines …”.
“The key to brine abstraction … is a permeable aquifer from which to abstract. This is … a function of the presence and amount of sand in the aquifer. This infill program … saw thick layers of coarse sand through the aquifers, commencing 30 to 40 metres above the basement.”
“The volume of brine at APC’s Lake Wells SOP project is enormous. More than 2 billion tonnes exist in our mineral resource estimate, underpinning a proposed long-lived asset development”.
The scoping study for Australian Potash lists a targeted production rate of 150,000 tonnes per annum for the first 5 years during Stage 1 and double this amount during the remaining 15-year mine life in Stage 2.
The company says that the cost of production places Lake Wells within the lowest quartile of global operating costs for sulphate of potash.
The project area is located 280km by road from bulk rail terminals near Leonora in the northern WA Goldfields and the company already has MoUs in place with two of China’s largest agricultural companies for a combined 200,000 tonnes per annum of product off-take.
Management says it is committed to supplying its product to Australian farmers and is actively engaged with large fertiliser distributors in WA, anticipating that demand will increase with the presence of a local supplier once its operation is in full swing.