Salt Lake Potash Limited (AIM/ASX: SO4) has completed construction of the Stage 2 evaporation ponds and trench network at its Lake Way SOP Project in Wiluna, Western Australia.
CEO Tony Swiericzuk, said this is a significant construction milestone and represents a further significant de-risking of the project, with construction progress continuing to track in-line with the project schedule.
Mr Swiericzuk said the company has now completed construction of 400ha of evaporation ponds and 35km of brine abstraction trenches.
Mr Swiericzuk said focus has now shifted to construction of the process plant as well as other non-process infrastructure, where ground clearing and early stage civil activity has commenced.
“The rapid delivery of the Lake Way SOP Project continues,” Mr Swiericzuk told shareholders.
“Completion of the Stage 2 ponds, ahead of schedule and on budget, means the company now has the infrastructure in place to supply harvest salts to the process plant in 2021. As these key milestones are completed the project continues to be significantly de-risked with expected first SOP production now just 10 months away.”
The Stage 2 pond network, comprising of 275ha of evaporation pond area and 35km of brine extraction trenches has been completed and is being commissioned. The commissioning process has seen in excess of 600ML of brine pumped into the Stage 2 ponds.
In addition to the ponds, 35km of trenches have now been completed. The draining of high-grade (25kg/m3 SOP) brine from the Williamson Pit is also nearing completion.
Mr Swiericzuk said Salt Lake is using a staged approach to pond construction that aligns with the process plant ramp-up schedule and steady-state production requirements, enabling some initial capital expenditure to be deferred for a period of up to 12 months. Stage 3 on-lake work expected to commence in Q4’20.
As part of financing ongoing operations, the company has drawn down US$45 million from the Taurus Stage 1 facility, ahead of expected finalisation of Project funding in the coming months.