Trigg Minerals prepares for next stage of SOP testing at Lake Throssell

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By Colin Hay - 
trigg minerals TMG ASX Lake Throssell sulphate potash

Trigg Minerals (ASX: TMG) has identified the key infrastructure necessary to allow it to commence the next stage of sulphate of potash (SOP) test-work for its Lake Throssell project in Western Australia.

Trigg had planned to have the upscaled test work already underway but that schedule has now been moved to Q1 2024 due to the unavailability of key infrastructure required for testing of salt extraction technology.

The upscaled test-work is to be undertaken at the partner company to demonstrate an alternative pre-processing approach to that used by the previous SOP operators in Western Australia.

Trigg now anticipates this testing will commence in January 2024 with assay results to be sent to labs in WA soon after and results expected before the end of 1Q 2024.

Pilot-stage plans

Non-executive chair Timothy Morrison said that successful completion of the test work would enable Trigg to extend its program to a next-level pilot stage and ultimately have the potential to allow them to expand into the construction of a demonstration-scale SOP production plant.

“Solving pre-processing salt homogeneity issues is integral to unlocking the value of existing SOP-in-brines production, and we hope our test-work can offer a solution to the process issues that have caused major problems for potential SOP producers,” Mr Morrison said.

He noted that the recent appointment of administrators to Australian Potash highlighted the pressure that processing and recovery issues are placing on participants across the WA SOP industry.

Testing critical to future ambitions

“APT’s situation puts into perspective the importance for Trigg to pursue successful testing to overcome these technical challenges before any further significant development of our Lake Throssell project,” Mr Morrison said.

“Trigg’s board believes this technology could resolve many of these issues that have hindered the SOP industry to date, including complex salt extraction and low recoveries.”

“The success of this innovative processing technology could underpin a stream of activity alongside the company’s gold and base metal exploration focus in Queensland.”

“In the event the technical work does not provide a pathway to resolving processing and recovery issues, the board will consider all alternatives to maximise shareholder value.”

In September, Trigg received $1.05 million upfront of a total $1.31m research and development (R&D) tax offset for R&D work undertaken at Lake Throssell.

The incentive recognised the innovation required to develop an SOP project in Australia and the company’s approach to determining the hydrogeological characteristics of the brine-hosted deposit.

Large project area

Located approximately 180km east of the inland WA mining centre of Laverton, the Lake Throssell project covers an area of 1,085 sq km.

The project contains a total drainable mineral resource estimate of 14.4 million tonnes of SOP plus an additional exploration target.

An October 2021 scoping study outlined an initial 21-year mine life with forecast production of 245,000tpa of SOP.

High-value fertiliser

Sulphate of potash, sometimes called potassium sulphate, is commonly used in fertilisers, providing both potassium and sulphur.

As global demand for food growth and population growth continues to expand, so does the demand for SOP.

It is the only potash-based fertiliser suitable for crops such as vegetables and fruiting plants and the 30-year global outlook is that SOP demand will increase at a rate averaging 4-6% per year.

Australia currently imports all of its potash needs, so a local market is readily available.

Alternative opportunities studied

Trigg recently engaged an experienced geological team to review alternative mineral prospectivity over all the mining tenements it holds in WA.

Work includes comprehensive compilation of all relevant available geoscientific data sets that have been created for the Lake Throssell, Lake Rason and Lake Yeo projects.

This program includes a data review and compilation of all relevant and available data sets looking for alternative mineralisation and an assessment of drill chips obtained by Trigg and/or drill core held by the Geological Survey of WA.