Salt Lake begins commissioning of potash process plant

First bucket of salt fed into the feed hopper. Image: Salt lake Potash

Salt Lake Potash has launched commissioning of Australia’s first sulphate of potash (SOP) processing plant at Wiluna in Western Australia ahead of first production later this year.

The company awarded contracts to GE Engineering for engineering, procurement and construction of the plant in June last year, before swiftly passing the project’s halfway mark by September.

Conveyor CV01 operating with first feed salts.
Image: Salt Lake Potash

Now, just nine months after awarding initial contracts, chief executive officer Tony Swiericzuk was congratulating his team on a significant achievement.

“Commencing commissioning of Australia’s first sulphate of potash processing plant is a major milestone for SO4 and testament to the hard work of our owners’ team and GR Engineering Services,” Swiericzuk said.

Lake Way is 300 kilometres north-east of Mount Magnet, and 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.

The first salt resources were fed through the feed hopper, surge bin, lump breaker, and the attritioning feed tank, accounting for every piece to the front-end processing puzzle.

Next in line for commissioning will be utilities, conversion circuit, floatation circuits, crystallisers and dryer. Consulting on the process will be plant designer, Wood Group, with assistance. from vendors including Veolia and Broadbent.

The Lake Way project used two-megawatt diesel generators to power the front-end plant commissioning, while the 10-megawatt power station is scheduled for use in late April.

The project expects first production and sales to occur in the June quarter, as Swiericzuk said he’s looking forward to seeing it all unfold.

“It is exciting to see the vision that was first conceived in late 2018 come to fruition less than two and a half years later. First SOP sales and revenue are now well within sight,” Swiericzuk said.

The Lake Way project is designed to use its six ponds to produce 245,000 tonnes of SOP per year for a 20-year lifespan.

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