Exploration and development company Kalium Lakes (ASX: KLL) has been granted all of the mining tenure for its flagship Beyondie sulphate of potash project in Western Australia from the state’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
The tenure – which includes two mining leases, 15 miscellaneous licences and a gas pipeline licence in addition to 15 previously-granted exploration licences over 2,400 square kilometres – has been granted with the consent of the region’s native title holders in accordance with signed Mining Land Access agreements.
It covers all required project activities including mining (brine extraction), evaporation ponds, sulphate-of-potash (SOP) purification, water supply borefield and pipelines, communications, a gas pipeline, power generation, accommodation facilities and supporting infrastructure.
Managing director Brett Hazelden said Kalium remains the only local SOP company to have all tenure requirements granted.
“[This milestone] will help us develop what we expect will be the first commercial SOP production facility in Australia,” he said.
“It allows the full value chain to be accomplished including extraction of the brine, evaporation to form salts, SOP purification and haulage to the Australian agricultural industry or an export [facility].”
Founded in October 2014, Kalium has invested more than $30 million in exploration and development of the Beyondie project.
The low-cost, high-margin operation is expected to have an initial start-up rate of 82,000 tonnes per annum of SOP, ramping up to full-scale 164,000tpa over a proposed mine life of more than 30 years.
A bankable feasibility study in September confirmed Beyondie to be “technically and financially robust”, paving the way for the completion of project financing and a final investment decision expected this quarter.
Full construction activities are slated to start approximately 15 months after a final investment decision, with first production scheduled for 2020.
Kalium is working fast to become Australia’s first SOP operation geared around the production of a high yield, premium fertiliser for domestic and international markets.
In January, Australian Potash (ASX: APC) commenced trial SOP production using 3t of potassium-rich harvest salts from its Lake Wells project in WA’s goldfields.
Completed at a Perth-based pilot processing facility, the trial run was designed to confirm the processing pathway for Lake Wells product and was Australia’s first sulphate of potash run.
At midday, shares in Kalium were 10.94% higher at $0.355.