THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Trigg Mining’s ambitions lie in securing Australia’s sustainable agriculture future through the exploration of the essential potassium fertiliser, sulphate of potash (SOP).
Trigg is looking to establish a domestic source of SOP, given that currently Australia imports all its potassium fertiliser needs, often from as far away as Canada and Germany, despite potassium-rich brines being known to exist in the desert regions of Western Australia.
“This is mining in name more than anything else, because it is an evaporation-style mineralisation,” Trigg Mining managing director Keren Paterson said.
“It’s about agricultural mineralisation and food supply…we have been out speaking with farmers in Western Australia, because our projects are very close to the WA agricultural sector, so it’s important to understand the needs of our farmers and the people who produce our food.
“We have resources here in Australia and we can’t wait to define what potentially will be ours and to engage with the farmers of Western Australia and Australia as a whole.”
Trigg Mining has built a competitive footprint across two SOP Projects in the Goldfields of WA: the Laverton Links and Lake Throssell potash projects.
The company stated aim is the exploration for naturally occurring SOP, found in potassium-rich hypersaline brine water, which provides two essential elements for plant growth and human nutrition – potassium and sulphur.
Beside from its ability to provide these two important macro nutrients, the other important characteristic of SOP is that it contains very little chloride which is detrimental to many crops such as fruit and vegetables including avocados, cocoa, coffee beans, grapes, berries and tree nuts, as well as arid and acidic soils.
The sustainability factor stretches to the production of SOP, which can be achieved through the solar evaporation of potassium-rich hypersaline brine water, without the need for large open pits or waste-rock dumps.
“it’s very simple exploration,” Paterson continued.
“It’s aircore drilling that is shallow as we are exploring for the water – the minerals are already dissolved in the water.”
Trigg Mining’s SOP projects do just this and extend the company’s ambitions by being located approximately 200 kilometres east of Laverton in Western Australia close to established energy and transport infrastructure for access to Australian and international agricultural markets.
The projects cover more than 3,000 square kilometres and contain over 400sqkm of salt lake playa and 375km of interpreted palaeochannels (ancient underground rivers), all of which are considered by the company to be highly prospective for brine hosted SOP.
Just as 2019 was coming to a close, Trigg Mining announced a new discovery of high-grade SOP at its Lake Throssell SOP project.
The discovery came via hand-auger brine samples that returned high-grades of up to 6,660 milligrams per litre (mg/L) potassium or 14.8 kilograms per cubic metre (kg/m3) SOP equivalent.
An average grade of 5,296mg/L potassium, or 11.8kg/m3 SOP equivalent was achieved from 18 samples.
The results set Trigg to the drawing board to immediately plan activities to target the basal sand aquifer of the palaeochannel in 2020, including geophysical surveys and exploration drilling.
The company plans an initial air core drilling program in 2020 to map and sample the underlying palaeochannel in conjunction with additional near-surface sampling, with the aim of establishing an initial JORC Mineral Resource.
The early indication of potential mineralisation led the company to apply for two new tenements to the north and the south of Lake Throssell along the interpreted underlying palaeochannel, securing the Lake Throssell system, taking the project area to 752sqkm, all of which it considers prospective for SOP mineralisation with a 106km trend.
“The Lake Throssell Sulphate of Potash project is shaping up to be a significant SOP project,” Paterson said.
“These high-grade results across the playa and the potential scale of the underlying palaeochannel makes this discovery one of the most important for Australia’s emerging SOP industry and our nation’s food security.”
Trigg struck an agreement to purchase a tenement covering the western portion of Lake Rason, paying $20,000 for exploration licence E38/3437.
The tenement is not expected to be granted until Q3 FY20, however Trigg believes the additional ground in the Lake Rason area has the potential to enhance the anticipated Mineral Resource estimate following completion of sampling and drilling programs with 10km of direct lake trend to be added to the existing 42km lake trend.
Early exploration work carried out by the company has established a JORC Code-compliant Exploration Target at the Lake Rason prospect and identified the palaeochannel and SOP mineralisation at the Lake Hope Campbell prospect.