Sulphate of potash (SOP) explorer Trigg Mining (ASX: TMG) will begin trading on the ASX today after the company raised $4.5 million in its IPO.
Trigg joined ASX ranks after issuing 22.5 million shares at $0.20 each to advance its SOP projects near Laverton in Western Australia.
According to Trigg managing director Keren Paterson, the IPO had been “widely supported” by the Australian public and agricultural communities, with investors including agricultural machinery suppliers, crop farmers and horticulturists across the country.
Via the offer, Trigg acquired its joint venture partner of the two SOP projects – K2O Minerals Pty Ltd. Under the acquisition, Trigg issued more than 5.26 million shares plus a further 4.235 vendor performance shares.
The K2O Minerals acquisition gives Trigg full ownership of the projects: Laverton Links and Lake Throssell, which are close to established transport and energy infrastructure.
“It is a significant milestone in the journey of the company and the funds raised will be used to advance the exploration and evaluation of the Laverton Links and Lake Throssell SOP projects,” Ms Paterson said.
The two projects encompass 2,640 square kilometres of granted tenements and host more than 400sq km of salt lake playa and 300km of ancient underground rivers which are prospective for SOP brines.
Laverton Links project
Laverton Links is Trigg’s flagship asset and comprises eight exploration licences over 2,315sq km.
Trigg has identified three main prospects at Laverton Links: Lake Rason, Lake Hope Campbell and East Laverton.
Prior to its ASX listing, Trigg firmed up an exploration target for the Lake Rason prospect between 2.5-9 million tonnes SOP at 4.3-6.3kg per cubic metre SOP.
This was estimated using data from a gravity and seismic survey, along with shallow pit sampling and a 1,050m aircore drilling program.
Meanwhile, shallow pit sampling at the project’s Lake Hope Campbell prospect generated sub-surface brines grading up to 6.7kg/m3.
Throssell Lake project
Trigg’s Throssell Lake SOP asset is about 60km north-east of the newly established Gruyere gold mine and Yamarna gas pipeline terminus.
The project includes one exploration licence covering 322sq km.
Prior to listing, Trigg and its recently acquired K2O Minerals’ negotiated an agreement with local native title holders which allowed the exploration licence permit to be granted and Trigg to undertake exploration across the tenement.
Developing a sustainable operation
Upon listing, Trigg will focus on advancing Laverton Links with initial work to target the Lake Rason and Lake Hope Campbell prospects.
The company hopes to firm up a mineral resource and a flowsheet for the project.
Trigg noted the processing method will initially involve using solar energy to evaporate the potassium-rich hypersaline brine – eliminating the need for large open pits or waste-rock dumps and creating a more sustainable mining operation.
Over at Lake Throssell, Trigg will carry out a heritage survey and reconnaissance exploration to better-understand the project’s prospectivity.
By developing its SOP assets, Trigg’s strategy is to address Australia’s need to reduce its domestic agriculture sector’s reliance on imported potassium fertilisers.
The company noted that due to Australia’s reliance on SOP imports, it is at the mercy of frequent supply constraints from traditional producers.
As a result, domestic importers have relied on secondary Mannheim produced SOP, which is a synthetic process and much costlier than naturally derived SOP.
Within Australia, there is no domestic source of SOP, and Trigg hopes to meet this gap along with several other aspiring salt lake SOP miners.
On a global level, demand for SOP fertiliser is strong – driven by an expanding world population and diminishing arable land.
This places pressure on current agricultural practices to boost yield and productivity to meet the needs of the global population.
SOP that is extracted from brines is a naturally occurring source of the fertiliser. As a result, it can potentially become organically certified for use in the organic agriculture space.
Naturally occurring SOP has the added benefit of reduced costs than other production methods such as Mannheim.
A need for SOP
Because it provides essential macro nutrients of potassium and sulphur, SOP is vital to plant growth. The fertiliser is also absent of detrimental elements like chloride, which is found in muriate of potash.
According to Trigg, SOP is particularly important for crops sensitive to chloride such as fruits, vegetables, avocados, berries, coffee, cocoa, flowers and many others.
SOP is also known to improve both drought and frost resistance in crops and is beneficial to plants in arid and acidic soils such as those found in WA.