ASX-listed explorers have countless things to worry about — from raising cash to drilling results to regulatory requirements.

Cannibals are not usually one of those concerns.

Unless you’re talking about the underground cannibals at Reward Minerals’ Lake Disappointment potash project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Stockhead didn’t actually spot any cannibals on a recent visit to Lake Disappointment.

But the Indigenous Martu people believe “Ngayurnangalku spirits” (pictured above) live beneath the 33,000-hectare lake.

The Ngayurnangalku are ancestral cannibal beings with pointy teeth and claw-like fingernails that are believed to be so strong they can grab planes out of the sky.

(Though Stockhead can honestly say that no man-eating cannibals tried to bring down our helicopter.)

Lake Disappointment, Reward Minerals managing director Greg Cochran
Would Reward Minerals boss Greg Cochran stand on the lake if there were cannibals?

The Martu are the traditional owners of a large part of central Western Australia which extends from the Great Sandy Desert in the north to around Wiluna in the south.

In Western Desert language, Lake Disappointment is known as “Kumpupintil”.

Some of the Martu people believe in the myth so strongly that they won’t go near the lake, project director Daniel Tenardi explained on the recent site visit.

Lake Disappointment was named by explorer Frank Hann in 1897. Mr Hann was exploring the east Pilbara around the Rudall River.

He noticed that the creeks flowed inland and followed them, expecting to find a large fresh water lake.

Instead he found a big dry salt lake, which earned it the name “Lake Disappointment”.

Potash potential

If the spirits can be dealt with, Reward believes the Pilbara region could become the next Saskatchewan – a region in Canada that is currently the world’s largest exporter of potash.

“I’m not talking just about Lake Disappointment, but other projects further inland, and we’ve got some really good insights into the geological potential that we as a company have learnt over the last 12 years,” says Reward Minerals boss Greg Cochran.

“In fact, when we talk to government ministers that’s part of the conversation. There’s a dream there, this vision is big.”

A recent pre-feasibility study indicated Reward’s Lake Disappointment project will produce 9 million tonnes of SOP over a 27-year life.

Reward says it will be one of the world’s largest and longest-life brine sulphate of potash projects.