Kalium Lakes has delivered the first batch of sulphate of potash (SOP) at its Beyondie project in Western Australia in what is believed to be an Australian first.
The SOP achieved the required product specification and paves the way for continued product commissioning by EBTEC – a joint venture partnership of K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies and Ebner GmbR – until the performance test is completed.
As the company takes another step towards commercial production, Kalium Lakes chief executive officer Rudolph van Niekerk is buoyed by the momentum of the project.
“Kalium Lakes has delivered another major milestone for the Beyondie SOP Project, producing its first SOP seven years after the company was founded in September 2014,” van Niekerk said.
“It has been a remarkable journey to reach this stage and we thank everyone who has contributed to the success of the project during the past seven years, particularly our long-term shareholders, management team and employees.”
Kalium Lakes has been meticulous with the project, ensuring it has the best possible chance of success.
“We have always said that it was not a race and we were focused on getting it right rather than being first, but in the end we have been fortunate to achieve both,” van Niekerk said.
As Kalium Lakes ramps up its preparations, the company has awarded additional SOP product haulage services.
Kalium Lakes’ construction and commissioning activities to this point remain with the capital expenditure budget.
In March, Kalium Lakes announced Beyondie had been upgraded to produce 100,000 tonnes of SOP per annum, with the potential to increase to 120,000 tonnes per annum in the short term.
It came after the company completed a “debottlenecking” review of Beyondie’s SOP purification plant.
Kalium Lakes cited higher potassium grades in brines, improvements in the availability of the SOP purification plant and a conservative plant design as some of the reasons for the increased potential.
In the long-term, Kalium Lakes has its sights set on 400,000 tonnes of SOP per annum, while it will also look at the viability of commercialising by-products from the project including magnesium.