Work on the DFS, which includes the field programs and a reserve estimation, is progressing well and nearing completion.
The field programs include development of two more production wells with long-term pump test programs and completion of trial-pond construction in readiness for first fill.
This on-playa trial pond will assess the constructability, efficacy and economics of three sub-surface, vertical barrier designs while also assessing constructability of an on-playa causeway using local borrow material.
In the company's June quarterly report, managing director Matt Shackleton said: “The quarter saw APC continue with the field programs for the DFS, with all programs to be completed by the end of July.
“Our team has been boosted with the skills and experience that Scott Nicholas, our new CFO, brings to our process and we are now rapidly closing out the DFS as a result.
“Offtake discussions are maturing, and it is gratifying to see that the appetite for premium Lake Wells SOP, K-Brite is strong.
“Western Australia represents a safe and trusted jurisdiction for the development of resource projects and our simple production proposal and ideal location inform these discussions.
“I very much look forward to discussing the findings of the DFS in the near term.”
The on-playa trial pond is constructed in a lagoon, creating a semi-circular pond shape with a causeway across the diameter and using the surrounding dune as a perimeter embankment to construct the sub-surface barriers.
This pond is constructed in proximity to an existing brine production bore which has undergone long-term test pumping to add to the aquifer resource model.
Results from the long-term or constant rate pump test program, which commenced during the quarter on the production wells, are yet to be finalised.
READ: Australian Potash adds confidence to Lake Wells SOP Project resource with strong production well development
The company continues to work with the Western Australian No-Till Farming Association, the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and selected WA broadacre farmers to test the efficacy of SOP over MOP in Western Australian soil types.
It is considered by end-user farmers and agronomic advisory groups that an economic supply of SOP has the potential to partially supplant the state demand for MOP of approximately 200,000 tonnes per annum.
St Barbara gold earn-in
In October 2018 Australian Potash and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) entered into an earn-in and joint venture agreement covering tenure at the Lake Wells Gold Project.
Under the agreed terms, St Barbara paid $1.25 million in cash for entering into the agreement and has agreed to fund minimum exploration expenditure of $1.75 million in the first year of the agreement.
During the quarter St Barbara completed:
- A 585-hole aircore drilling program for 29,337 metres testing eight targets with preliminary composite results having been returned for 331 holes and final assays obtained for two holes; and
- A detailed 36,633-line kilometre airborne magnetic survey completed over the entire tenement area.
Australian Potash shares have been up as much as 7% to an intra-day high of 9.6 cents.