Wirtgen 220 harvester up and running at Kalium Lakes’ Beyondie potash project

Kalium Lakes has commissioned a recently delivered salt harvester from Wirtgen at its Beyondie Sulphate of potash project (BSOPP) in Western Australia.

The Wirtgen harvester was selected after extensive trials using different harvesting methods and machinery as part of Kalium Lakes’ 10 ha pilot scale ponds program, the company said.

The Wirtgen 220 can produce up to 600 t/h of harvested salts at a consistent floor height and grain size, according to Kalium Lakes.

Those salts harvested are transported to the nearby purification plant for processing into a final sulphate of potash product, the company explained. Similar Wirtgen harvesters are in use in other salt mining operations around the world.

Earlier this week, Kalium Lakes awarded the engineering procurement and construction contract for the 90,000 t/y SOP processing plant at the BSOPP to DRA Global.

The commissioning of the Wirtgen 220 also allowed the company to confirm several operational parameters including salt pavement thickness, harvesting methodology, expected grain size and the estimated timeframes to drain the evaporation pond of brine, harvest, refill with brine and recommence salt crystallisation, Kalium Lakes said.

Managing Director, Brett Hazelden, said: “As we approached the milestone of 30,000 t of SOP brine pumped into our evaporation ponds, it was a timely opportunity to commission the harvester on site and confirm the operational assumptions.

“This very impressive machine has been specifically designed to generate a certain product size to enable the downstream purification plant to operate efficiently. It is also pleasing to see our operation completing another first for the SOP sector in Australia, as we continue to develop this new industry aimed at supplying our local Australian farmers.”