The potash explorer Salt Lake Potash (SLP) and the gold production company Blackham Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the intention of establishing the feasibility of undertaking a sulphate of potash play at Lake Way in Western Australia.
Under the terms of the agreement SLP gains control of Blackham’s brine rights, while Blackham will acquire gold rights to SLP’s Lake Way holdings; each company shall retain a royalty on their respective holdings in the event of an operation being developed. The parties will also exchange data and facilitate activities on each other's properties.
SLP’s CEO, Matt Syme, said that Lake Way, “appears to have the best combination in Australia of scale, brine chemistry, permitting and infrastructure access and justifies the effort to prove its potential.”
SLP holds approximately 290 km2 of tenure over the Lake Way paleochannel, as part of its Goldfields Salt Lakes project, while Blackham’s Matilda-Wiluna leases over 64 km2 at the northern end of the lake, around the former Williamson pit. Since mining ended in 2006, it has filled with brine containing what SLP describes as “an exceptional grade” of 25 kg per cubic metre of sulphate of potash.
SLP will investigate the development of a sulphate of potash operation at Lake Way, including initially a 40 – 50 000 tpy demonstration plant, fully funding the evaluation and development of the Lake Way operation. The company would also allow the plant to be constructed on the existing leases, thus avoiding regulatory barriers.
The MoU raises the prospect of sharing overheads and infrastructure with the Wiluna mine – such a move could deliver substantial savings for both companies. Blackham would benefit by SLP dewatering the existing Williamson pit of the 1.2 gigalitres of brine, before mining resumes at the pit next year. SLP said the brine was “potentially the ideal starter feed for evaporation ponds, having already evaporated from the normal Lake Way brine grade, which averages around 14kg/m3”.
SLP will complete a scoping study over the next few months, using the substantial existing data with the aim of fast-tracking a decision on dewatering the pits.
Syme added: “We are pleased to reach this agreement with Blackham Resources, which could potentially bring very substantial benefit to both companies and add significant value from mineral rights to which neither company ascribed value as a standalone.”
For Blackham, a royalty would help it pay down its debts faster and lower its costs, while smoothing its path to the Williamson mine centre redevelopment, where there is a resource of 360 000 oz and an exploration target of 500 000 oz to 2 million oz around 30 km from the mill.
Upon the announcement of the MoU, Blackham shares rose 3% to AUS$8.4 cents, while SLP shares also went up 3% to AUS$52.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldfertilizer.com/potash/14032018/blackham-resources-and-salt-lake-potash-sign-mou/