Kalium Lakes has commissioned a salt harvester as the company closes in on a 30,000 tonnes of sulphate of potash (SOP) milestone at the Beyondie SOP project in Western Australia.
Several harvesting methods and machines were trialled by Kalium, with the company selecting the Wirtgen salt harvester for the project.
The German-made harvester is used in salt mining operations across the globe and is capable of producing 600 tonnes of harvested salts per hour.
For Kalium managing director Brett Hazelden, the harvester was introduced during a time where the company was on the verge of a SOP production milestone.
“As we approached the milestone of 30,000 tonnes of SOP brine pumped into our evaporation ponds it was a timely opportunity to commission the harvester on-site and confirm the operational assumptions,” he said.
“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.”
COVID-19 has caused Kalium to build up its brine inventory, which has contributed to the milestone.
In early June, Kalium reported 1.25 gigalitres of SOP brine, which equates to around 27,000 tonnes of SOP.
The harvester also enhances Kalium’s understanding of its operational parameters, which include salt pavement thickness; harvesting methodology; grain size; brine drainage timeframes; harvesting; brine refill and recommence salt crystallisation.
The Beyondie project is progressing according to Kalium’s updated timetable.
There is currently no SOP production in Australia.