Work to kick off at Great Western’s exciting Lake Way potash project
Great Western’s ‘Lake Way’ project includes a continuation of the main channel developed by ~$280m market cap Salt Lake Potash, which is on track to become a premium SOP producer in the September 2021 quarter.
SOP, or sulphate of potash, is an essential fertiliser input for farming nutrient-rich fruit and vegetable crops, which are becoming more accessible across the world as the global middle class grows with no sign of slowing.
Over the past few months rising food commodity prices have underpinned strong demand for fertilisers, which has meant better conditions for SOP prices.
Furthermore, emerging Australian producers are expected to make a premium 52-53% potassium oxide product with very low chlorides in the product and high solubility.
This attracts price premiums over the published indexes, according to recent commentary from Salt Lake chief executive Tony Swiericzuk.
In an already hot market emerging Aussie potash producers could stand to benefit further from sanctions imposed last week by the EU on Belarus – home to state-owned Belaruskali – the world’s largest producer of potash said to account for around one-fifth of global potash supplies.
Why the lesson in fertiliser economics? It’s a huge opportunity waiting to be tapped.
Salt Lake Potash (ASX: SO4) is set to be the first to market in Australia’s burgeoning sulphate of potash industry.
SOP from Salt Lake’s $269 million Lake Way project near Wiluna will be shipped to more than 60 markets around the world, and the project has attracted funding from groups including the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to the region.
~$220m market cap Kalium Lakes (ASX: KLL), is not far behind, with the Beyondie project in the Pilbara on track for September.
And right next door to Salt Lake is $15m market cap minnow Great Western’s (ASX:GTE) 100% owned Lake Way Potash Project area, where exploration licences have now been now granted.
As you can see, Great Western’s ground includes the directly adjoining downstream continuation of the main basal channel that Salt Lake Potash is currently developing:
Historic test work indicates that the potash brine within the basal sands of the paleochannel remains high grade as it enters Great Western’s Project area, according to samples from WMC drilling in the 1990s.
Now, the Great Western has received a 26D licence to construct a network of 40 exploratory bores, 20 monitoring bores and 10 production bores on its ground.
The explorer is working with highly regarded industry veteran hydrogeologist Mr Kevin Morgan to advance the project.
In his preliminary assessment, Morgan advised Great Western that a comprehensive historical test pumping program undertaken in the early 1990s “indicates that high grade potash brine extracted from bores on Great Western’s project area is compatible with the high-grade results reported by S04” on the adjacent tenements.
Mr Morgan also noted that the historical brine samples that sit both within Great Western’s Project area, and on the northern border, exhibit a favourable ratio of potassium to total dissolved salts and chloride.
This is a key component to the potential extraction of economic potash brine.
Morgan has completed the design of a field work program that will commence shortly at Lake Way.
An impending low-cost geophysical survey is anticipated to delineate the width, depth and extent of the paleochannel at Lake Way.
Great Western has now finalised Native Title Access Agreements with all Traditional Owners across its Lakeway Potash Project, and work programs for the geophysical survey work have been approved.
“While the expenditure required to complete this work program at the Lake Way Potash Project in not material, Great Western believes that the proposed work program has the potential to add very significant value for GTE shareholders, given the demonstrable progress made by Salt Lake Potash towards becoming Australia’s first premium organic Sulphate of Potash (SOP) producer in 2021,” the company says.
“Great Western looks forward to updating the market as it progresses its assessment and field work in respect of its Lake Way Potash Project.”
Maiden RC drilling at ‘Copper Ridge’ has now been completed, Great Western says.
The program tested both the Copperhead and Taipan copper-gold targets 40km west of Wiluna, in WA. Assays are expected to be received mid to late July.
An infill and extensional ultrafine + surface sampling and moving loop EM survey will begin at the very exciting Thunder copper target in early July 2021.
Drilling at Thunder is planned for August.
Great Western continue to progress further field work programmes across areas of the Company’s substantial tenure in Western Australia that the Company is confident will result in a greater understanding of a number of areas of interest, enhanced prospects and drill ready targets.
This article was developed in collaboration with Great Western Exploration, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.