Australian Potash has announced the final field programs of work has begun in the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) of the Lake Wells Sulphate of Potash Project.
The study will include the finalisation of resources and of the environmental monitoring program, which will feed into the Environmental Review Document.
The resource finalisation will include up to three further production wells being developed to depths between 140–170m, as well as three monitoring bores per production well. The bores will be drilled to plot aquifer response during pump testing.
The long-term pump testing of production wells will confirm flow rates, which will in turn, underpin the hydro-flow model for the bore field design. Additionally, the downhole geophysics across 30 of the deepest holes are to be drilled at site to provide further confidence in the permeability of the sediment strata.
An evaporation pond construction program has also been included, with trial evaporation ponds to be built on the lake to assess design constructability and efficacy.
Managing Director and CEO, Matt Shackleton, said, “Integral to any mineral project’s success is the quality of the JORC Resource estimate underpinning it, and the Lake Wells SOP project is no different.
“Project developments of this nature have to demonstrate to the lowest level of risk, both longevity of production, and recoverability of minerals. A bore field permits an easier assessment of at least the recoverability of brine, and is a well-tried and proven method for abstracting brine.
“Central to the final field program at Lake Wells is the push to a JORC Reserve estimate, and our focus is on building upon the more than 50,000m of drilling and already extensive
database of testwork that comprises the existing, robust JORC Compliant SOP mineral resource estimate which contains over 12 million tonnes of gravity recoverable SOP at the indicated level.
“Developing more production wells, test-pumping them, and collecting bedrock core for analysis are critical factors that will feed into the calculation of an Ore Reserve estimate for Lake Wells.
“APC’s extensive geotechnical field and test work at the project have revealed the existence of a uniform, flat lying layer of low permeability clay at the lake surface that can accommodate ‘on-playa’ evaporation ponds.
“Because of this, we can avoid the large-scale capital expenditure required to line the pre-concentration ponds with HDPE plastic. The final geotechnical field trials will allow us to establish the optimal commercial-scale pond design, in terms of cost of construction and effectiveness of the design.
“We will round out the environmental surveying program that has been underway at Lake Wells for nearly two years. This final program is is scheduled to conclude shortly.”