Potash West perfecting potash process

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Potash West has made inroads in its quest to identify a commercial process to produce potash from its Dandaragan Greensands project, located to the north of Perth in Western Australia.

Following a series of tests conducted over the past nine months, Potash West has defined two flowsheets that produced laboratory quantities of potassium chemicals, which the company considers to have the potential to be important ingredients in the production of fertilisers.

The company said it is now on target to finalise a flowsheet by mid-2012 which it views as a critical milestone in bringing Dandaragan into development.

“Our technical development program has identified a number of process options that we will further define in 2012,” Potash West managing director Patrick McManus said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The prize of being able to economically extract potassium is so compelling that we will continue our investigation on a broad front.

“Our knowledge of glauconite processing has grown enormously, and now forms a valuable asset of the company.

“We are on track to have a flowsheet defined by July to enable us to commence a scoping study in the second half of 2012.”

By the end of 2011 Potash West had conducted over 280 individual tests aimed at developing workable flowsheets for potassium production.

Two flowsheets have been developed in enough detail to produce laboratory quantities of potassium chemicals.

One flowsheet produced potassium chloride, the other potassium sulphate.

Both flowsheets produced products of marketable quality.


Product quality, compared with commercial product. Source: Company announcement


McManus said that while it is still early days in the process development cycle, significant new and innovative intellectual property has been generated by the work undertaken to date.

“Computer modelling of the flowsheets has commenced to better define the mass and energy balances of the processes,” he continued.

“This will enable a preliminary economic appraisal to be undertaken.

“In line with the business plan outlined in the IPO prospectus, Potash West is aiming to have at least one process developed in sufficient detail to be the basis of a scoping study by mid-2012.”