Tag Archives: sulphate of potash

Australian Potash enlists help of PWR Hybrid for Lake Wells renewable microgrid

Australian Potash Ltd says PWR Hybrid has been awarded “Preferred Proponent status” to build, own and operate a circa-35 MW hybrid renewable microgrid at its Lake Wells sulphate of potash project (LSOP) in Western Australia.

The power purchase agreement will be finalised through the early contractor involvement process the companies will now progress, with an improved indicative levelised cost of energy to the recently published front end engineering design study, Australian Potash said.

PWR Hybrid brings over 28 years of experience in developing power solutions to remote sites across the globe, including more than 350 MW of solar installations, according to the company.

The company also commissioned an assessment of the LSOP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint as part of its preparation for compliance with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) regime, effective in Europe from March 10, 2021. This assessment, taking into consideration the power balance across the project and energy usage through to ports of loading in Western Australia, concluded that the LSOP will produce a CO2-e GHG that is materially lower than either a comparable Mannheim operation (LSOP<Mannheim by 69%) or solar-salt/brine operation (LSOP<other by 49%), the company said.

Australian Potash Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said: “Strategically, we shifted the focus of the LSOP development and operations to a sustainable energy footing to capture and leverage the already low GHG footprint of a solar-salt project. With the benefit of time, and rigorous and methodical planning, several alternative configurations for the LSOP microgrid were presented and assessed.

“With our vision on the operational future of the LSOP, and therefore our end users, we consider it vital to address sustainable production of SOP as a critical path item. To that end, we have commissioned a formal, rigorous ESG audit of the LSOP which will further provide our distribution partners, end users and investors with third party validation of the project’s ESG qualities.”

The LSOP microgrid will be developed in a staged approach, with the thermal component to be completed within around 15 months of the company making a final investment decision. This timeline ensures power supply preparedness for steady-state operations.

PWR Hybrid’s Director, Ryan Green, said: “We’re extremely pleased to be awarded preferred bidder status by Australian Potash. This is further recognition of PWR Hybrid’s capabilities in the hybrid power station market.

“Having recently delivered a 12 MW gas-fired power station in Western Australia, and commenced work on the hybridisation of that project, the company is well-positioned to partner with Australian Potash to provide an industry-leading hybrid power station at the LSOP.”

Key outcomes from the 2019 definitive feasibility study on Lake Wells include:

  • 30-year mine life producing 150,000 t/y of premium grade SOP utilising approximately 21% of the total measured resource estimate;
  • Long mine life underpinned by 3.6 Mt reserve and 18.1 Mt measured resource estimate;
  • Development capex of A$208 million ($153 million) with capital intensity of A$1,387/t; and
  • First quartile industry operating costs of $262/t providing high cash operating margins.

Photo credit: juwi

Salt Lake Potash nears SOP production milestone at Lake Way

Salt Lake Potash Limited remains on track for first production and sale of sulphate of potash (SOP) in the June quarter after declaring the commencement of process plant commissioning at its Lake Way project in Western Australia.

In a project update, the company said first time potassium-rich harvest salts, precipitated from lake aquifer brine, have been fed into an SOP plant in Australia.

These harvest sales were successfully fed into the feed hopper, conveyed to the surge bin, run through the lump breaker, and then into the attritioning feed tank at the front end of the process plant. This front-end plant commissioning was powered by 2 MW diesel generators, which will continue to be used to progress the process in the near term.

Over the coming weeks the utilities, conversion circuit, flotation circuits, crystallisers and dryer will all be commissioned ahead of full load commissioning and SOP production in the June quarter, it said.

Consultants from the plant designer, Wood Group, as well as vendors Veolia and Broadbent (among others) will be assisting in the commissioning process.

In the meantime, gas supply lines and the delivery station for the 10 MW power station have been fully commissioned, with “power on” scheduled for late April to support final commissioning activities and production commencement.

Lake Way is a 245,000 t/y SOP development with an expected mine life of over 20 years. Located in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, it is expected to produce a high-quality SOP fertiliser with the help of Veolia Water Technologies’ HPD® crystallisation systems, among other processes.

Royal IHC to deliver automated wet harvesting equipment to Mackay potash project

Agrimin has awarded Royal IHC the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract to provide automated wet harvesting equipment for the Mackay potash project in Western Australia.

Wet harvesting is currently used at the world’s largest sulphate of potash (SOP) operations and IHC is the world leader in the design and manufacture of dredging systems for wet harvesting solutions, according to Agrimin.

The Mackay potash project has been designed to use automated wet harvesters to collect and transfer raw potash salts from the solar evaporation ponds directly to the processing plant in slurry form. Inclusion of the wet harvesting technique in the definitive feasibility study (DFS) was supported by critical field data generated from Agrimin’s pilot pond operations between October 2018 and June 2020, the company said.

Application of the wet harvesting technique can provide significant operating benefits to Mackay potash project, including:

  • Significantly lower energy consumption to transfer raw potash salts from the evaporation ponds to the processing plant (ie raw potash salts will be transferred to the plant via pipeline as a slurry, thereby removing the requirement to truck dry salts);
  • Reduced labour costs as wet harvesters will be automated;
  • Increased overall potassium recovery with harvesting of two pre-concentration ponds to recover a portion of the potassium-bearing entrained brine; and
  • Reduced pond sizes due to harvesting occurring earlier in the evaporation cycle and not having to take ponds off-line for harvesting.

The wet harvester FEED work will be completed over the next eight months, building on the DFS level design work that was completed by IHC. IHC will deliver detailed construction design drawings for all key areas of the equipment including cutting tools and propulsion, slurry transport systems, hydraulics, electrics, field testing and a fixed cost for supply of the harvesting equipment, Agrimin said.

Production capacity at Mackay is designed to be 450,000 t/y of SOP over an initial 40-year mine life.

Australian Potash adds renewable power to the Lake Wells SOP mix

Australian Potash says it has finalised the front-end engineering design (FEED) study for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Australia’s first high penetration renewable power solution on a greenfield sulphate of potash (SOP) minerals project development.

The study outlined a base case renewable power penetration rate of 53% with potential to rise to 87%, the company said. This would result in a 50% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to 21,700 t/y compared with the hydro-carbon power solution base case outlined in the 2019 definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its Lake Wells SOP project, in Western Australia.

According to the company, the Mannheim (industrial) SOP production route produces 300% more carbon emissions than the route outlined for the Lake Wells SOP project on an equivalent tonne’s basis, positioning the asset as the lowest CO2 emitting potash project development in Australia.

Australian Potash Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said: “Solar-SOP projects naturally sit at the lower end of the CO2 emissions curve by virtue of the natural evaporative process involved, and we challenged our project team to model a renewable power solution to maximise the…[project]’s long-term environmental sustainability.

“We are running competitive tendering processes for the eight packages of work defined to develop the LSOP, and bids have been received for the Power Station EPC package. This package was scoped to include renewable power generation, battery storage and an LNG backup reserve.

“Very pleasingly, these bids exceeded our design criteria both in terms of the rate of penetration of renewable power, and the impact that the renewable power solution has on reducing the LSOP’s carbon emissions. These are benefits that accrue to both our shareholders and the broader stakeholder and investment base.

“Solar-SOP production competes on a cost basis with the industrial Mannheim process, sitting at the lowest end of the global cost of production curve. The Lake Wells SOP project will produce SOP into that lowest quartile, and will also be one of the lowest carbon footprint potash projects globally.

“The company is pursuing organic certification for the suite of products to be produced at the Lake Wells SOP project, which will truly make the K-Brite™ branded SOP long-term environmentally sustainable.”

Key outcomes from the 2019 DFS on Lake Wells include:

  • 30-year mine life producing 150,000 t/y of premium grade SOP utilising approximately 21% of the total measured resource estimate;
  • Long mine life underpinned by 3.6 Mt reserve and 18.1 Mt measured resource estimate;
  • Development capex of A$208 million ($146 million) with capital intensity of A$1,387/t; and
  • First quartile industry operating costs of $262/t providing high cash operating margins.

The current program of works for the Lake Wells SOP project would see construction commence in the March quarter of 2021.

Construction nears at Colluli potash project following Eritrea ministry nod

Danakali and the Eritrean Government’s plan to put the Colluli potash mine into production is accelerating after the Eritrean Ministry of Energy & Mines accepted the project’s Notice of Commencement of Mine Development.

Acceptance of the notice is one of the conditions precedent to the financing for the Colluli project and is a positive step toward achieving financial close of the project facilities, Danakali said.

Prior to issuing this notice, the jointly-owned Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) had satisfied several key Colluli development preconditions including executing a Mining Agreement and having a Mining Licenses issued; submitting and obtaining approval for the Social & Environmental Impact Assessment Study and Social & Environmental Management Plans; and submitting the commercial sulphate of potash production expectations over the life of the mine.

Colluli, owned 50:50 by Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation, has a JORC-2012 compliant measured, indicated and inferred resource of 1,289 Mt at 11% K20 equivalent and 7% kieserite.

Upon accepting the notice, the ministry, Danakali said, also showed support for the financing of the Colluli project by:

  • Granting time to commence the commercial production within 36 months from submission of the notice, (mid-December 2022);
  • Consenting to the security to be granted in support of the financing; and
  • Consenting to the account structure for the financing for the Colluli project.

The notice was submitted to the ministry by the CMSC on December 17, 2019, however the process has been slower than expected due to COVID-19-related lockdowns in Eritrea.

In accordance with the Mining Agreement, CMSC has 36 months from submission date to spend $200 million within the Mining Licence Area, Danakali said.

Along with the acceptance of the notice, the ministry has also granted all required permits, licences and authorisations for infrastructure construction and development outside the Colluli Mining Licence area. This includes the Sea Water Intake and Treatment Area at Anfile Bay (WITA); pipeline and access corridor of 87 km between the WITA and the Colluli process plant; and Colluli site access road of 57 km connecting Colluli to Marsa Fatuma.

Niels Wage, CEO of Danakali, said: “This year, the project team has made significant progress through management of DRA during Phase 1 and 2 of the EPCM works and most recently by commencing the necessary test works, enabling us to maintain forward momentum of the project development.

“I look forward to updating the market on the progress of our project in due course.”

The company has previously said production could commence in 2022.

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.”

DRA to design, supply and construct SOP processing plant for Kalium Lakes

DRA Global says it has been awarded the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Kalium Lakes-owned Beyondie sulphate of potash (SOP) project in Western Australia.

The scope of work will be the design, supply, and construction of the 90,000 t/y SOP processing plant, with a provision for future expansion to 180,000 t/y, the company said.

“As a total solutions partner, the awarding of the Beyondie EPC contract highlights the confidence in DRA’s specialised expertise,” Greg McRostie, Executive Vice President of DRA Global in APAC, said. “We are excited to be partnering with Kalium Lakes Limited on this innovative Australian project.”

DRA was already involved with the purification plant at Beyondie, having been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract last year.

Veolia crystalliser technology to help Salt Lake Potash produce SOP

Veolia Water Technologies says it has been contracted by Salt Lake Potash to supply HPD® crystallisation systems for its Lake Way potash mining project in Western Australia.

The systems will help the company produce a high-quality sulphate of potash (SOP) fertiliser, it said.

Salt Lake Potash is developing Lake Way into a 245,000 t/y SOP (K2SO4) operation, with first production expected by the end of the year. To recover low-cost, high-grade SOP, the production uses solar evaporation to concentrate the hypersaline, potassium-rich brines for salt harvesting, according to Veolia.

To further process these solids, Veolia will design and supply two HPD crystallisers: one to grow 32 t/h of high-purity potassium sulphate crystals, the other to recycle 54 t/h of solids to yield the maximum potassium recovery.

As part of this contract, Veolia provided bench-scale testing at its Phillip J. Stewart Technology centre in Plainfield, Illinois (USA). The results validated the feed chemistry, simulated the optimal flowsheet design, and confirmed process performance projections that helped to de-risk the project, according to the company.

To accelerate this fast-track project and achieve the delivery schedule, Veolia staged the progress to advance the basic engineering and testing simultaneously, it said. “These actions not only optimised capital investments but also lowered operating costs through a system design that minimises fouling and cleaning requirements,” the company explained.

Jim Brown, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas, said: “We are pleased to support Salt Lake Potash in delivering natural fertilisers to a market hungry for specialty potash nutrients. Based on test work, which confirmed the process viability, our reliable proven crystalliser technology will help the flagship Lake Way project set the industry benchmark in producing high-grade SOP.”

With its HPD technologies tailored to growing fully-soluble crystals, Veolia helps global fertiliser producers optimise their recovery operations and the value of its product portfolio with a focus on enhancing environmental sustainability as well as energy and resource efficiencies, it said.

EMW wins contract mining gig at Colluli sulphate of potash project

Earth Moving Worldwide (EMW) has been confirmed by the Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) as its preferred mining contractor at the Colluli sulphate of potash project, in Eritrea.

Danakali, which owns 50% of Colluli alongside the Eritrean National Mining Corp, said EMW has extensive global experience in mining services and will provide the project with strong commercial and technical outcomes.

The agreement covers the pre-production period (development) plus the first five years of production at Colluli, with the scope including the provision, operation and maintenance of excavation, haulage and dewatering equipment.

Colluli has a JORC-2012 compliant measured, indicated and inferred resource of 1,289 Mt at 11% K20 equivalent and 7% kieserite.

Danakali said a competitive tendering process was conducted with technical support from AMC Consultants and Majesso Consulting, and execution of the mining services contract was expected early in 2020, with production due to commence in 2022.

Chief Executive Officer of Danakali, Niels Wage, said: “The confirmation of EMW is another major step for Danakali and Colluli. We are pleased to be working with a company as experienced as EMW who share our commitment to the wellbeing of people and the environment surrounding Colluli.”

Member of the Board of Directors of EMW, Yves Aertssen, said: “EMW is delighted to be selected by Danakali to be part of Colluli. Our shared culture and values were clearly evidenced during the tender process. We are excited to build on this shared vision and work closely with Danakali and all stakeholders in the project to justify the confidence shown in EMW.”

EMW is a private earth moving, mining, processing, coastal protection and reclamation services company with over 140 years’ of global experience in earth moving and haulage activities.

Kalium Lakes fired up at Beyondie potash project

Kalium Lakes says it has awarded a contract to design, supply, install and commission a 7.5 MW gas fired power station for its Beyondie sulphate of potash project (BSOPP), in Western Australia, to Clarke Energy.

The scope of the contract includes three Jenbacher 616, 2.5 MW gas reciprocating engines, a Kohler KV440C2 black start generator, high and low voltage switch rooms, auxiliary equipment and the power station controls system, according to Kalium Lakes.

Gas for power generation will be supplied from Kalium Lakes’ owned and operated gas lateral that will also be built as part of the project for the stage one 90,000 t/y SOP production capacity.

The project aims to commence production at 90,000 t/y of SOP, before ramping up to 180,000 t/y of SOP for domestic and international sale. An initial mine life of between 30-50 years is anticipated for a project designed to be a low cost, long life and high margin producer, Kalium Lakes says.

According to the potash developer, the scope under this contract has already commenced with early works to de-risk the project schedule and enable early contractor involvement for optimal integration with the power generation requirements of the project.

Clarke Energy has also provided several smaller, diesel generators for the project from its signature Kohler brand, which will provide power to the village and the remote brine transfer pump stations, Kalium Lakes said.

Kalium Lakes’ Chief Development Officer, Rudolph van Niekerk, said: “Not only has Clarke Energy worked with us to find a technically viable solution for our project, it has gone the extra mile to also achieve the WHS Accreditation which is a requirement for this contract under Kalium Lakes’ funding from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.”

Earlier this month, Kalium Lakes’ board made the final investment decision on the project, allowing development to move forward.