Potash West NL (ASX:PWN,OTCQX:PWNNY) is an Australian based mineral exploration company focused on developing potassium-rich glauconite deposits of the Perth Basin in Western Australia. The company dominates mineral tenure in one of the world’s largest glauconite deposits, which covers an area of over 2,900km2. The Company’s goal is to maximize shareholder value by further defining their substantial potash resource base and bring the deposit into production. Previous exploration has indicated that glauconite sediments are widespread for more than 150km along strike and 15km in width.
- Skilled and experienced management team
- The company has one of the world’s largest known glauconite deposits
- World demand for potash is growing exponentially
- Could become first indigenous producer of potash in Australia; all of Australia’s potash is currently imported
- Close to local markets and all necessary infrastructure
- Relatively simple process achieves 95% potassium recovery rate
- Mineral lithology is similar to Brazilian developer Verde Potash
Dandaragan Trough Project
The Dandaragan Trough Project is a massive mineral tenure covering nearly 3000 square km in Western Australia, and is thought to be one of the world’s largest glauconite deposits. The Dandaragan Trough land package begins only a short distance (60 km) from Perth, Western Australia’s largest city. The company’s objective is to produce not only potash, but also valuable by-products such as superphosphate which is also used as a commercial fertilizer.
In February 2012 the company completed a verge drilling program over the length of the Dandaragan Trough project. The 153 hole, 8,300m program identified ten prospective target zones over a distance of 140km. The drilling has demonstrated that near surface grades above 4% K2O are present.
The company then embarked on a substantial drill program to further define the potash resource, completing 3272 meters of test drilling in October. The total JORC compliant (Australian version of a NI 43-101) resource estimate is 244 million tonnes grading 3% K2O and 1.6% P2O5 respectively, including 122 million tonnes at 4.6% K2O, sufficient for a mine life of thirty years.
A 2,000kg bulk sample from the Poison Hill Greensand test program proved highly encouraging. Tests indicated that glauconite could be separated from gangue (waste) minerals by means of magnetic separation, thus enhancing the overall K2O content. Over 100 leaching tests were carried out with range of reagents and temperatures. After only six hours of leaching over 95% of potassium could be extracted from the glauconite concentrate.
The company is proceeding on a dual path approach to developing the glauconite resource. Firstly, concentrating on the economic extraction of the primary potash resource using new extraction techniques to achieve high rates of mineral recovery; and secondly, extracting bi-products of potash which include: iron ore, superphosphate, and aluminum sulphate, and determine the economic viability of those minerals. Marketing studies are underway to confirm prices and markets for these bi-products, which will enhance the economics of the entire project. A third-party cost estimate study is underway by Tenova Bateman Projects, who have expertise with potash operations.
Dinner Hill Resource
Initial assay results from resource definition drilling conducted at the Dinner Hill prospect within the Dandaragan Trough Potash Project area were released on September 17, 2012. These drilling results were a key component for the release of the maiden JORC resource estimate of 244 million tonnes, grading 3.0 per cent K20 and 1.6% P2O5, for Dinner Hill on October 11, 2012. The initial JORC resource estimate was only defined on an estimated 20% of the Dinner Hill prospect, which is a small part of the company’s much more extensive tenement holding of approximately 2,900 square kilometres over the Dandaragan Trough.
The drilling highlighted the excellent continuity of well-preserved Molecap Greensand at an average thickness of nine metres, thickening to a maxium of 14 metres to the South and to a minimum of four metres to the north, with mineralisation remaning open to the north, south, and east.
Potash West NL has a dominant land position over one of the largest known glauconite deposits in the world. High recovery rates are possible with a relatively simple potassium extraction method as demonstrated on similar deposits of glauconite in India, USA and recently by Potash West. Potash West is in a prime position to exploit and commercialize the large potassium rich deposits of the Perth Basin, and take advantage of the increased world demand for potash fertilizer.
Adrian Griffin, BSc (Hons) MAusIMM, MGSA, TMS – Chairman
Mr. Griffin, an Australian-trained mining professional, has had exposure to metal mining and processing worldwide during a career spanning more than three decades. A pioneer of the lateritic nickel processing industry, he has helped develop extraction technologies for a range of minerals over the years. Today, Mr. Griffin specializes in mine management and production. He is a former chief executive officer of Dwyka Diamonds Limited, an AIM-and ASX-listed diamond producer, was a founding director and executive of Washington Resources Limited and also a founding director of Empire Resources Limited, Ferrum Crescent Limited and Reedy Lagoon Corporation Limited. Additionally, Mr. Griffin was a founding director of ASX-listed Northern Uranium Limited, of which he is currently a non-executive director. He is also managing director of ASX-listed Midwinter Resources NL, an African-focused iron ore project developer.
Patrick McManus, BSc (Hons), MBA, FAusIMM, FAICD - Managing Director
Mr. McManus has a degree in mineral processing and an MBA. A mining professional in industrial minerals for more than thirty years, his work has taken him to many sites within Australia, such as Eneabba and the Murray Basin, and over seas destinations, such as Madagascar, Indonesia and the United States. During that time, Mr. McManus has worked in operational, technical and corporate roles for Rio Tinto, RGC Limited and Bemax Resources Limited.
George Sakalidis, BSc (Hons), MAusIMM - Non-executive Director
Mr. Sakalidis is an exploration geophysicist of more than twenty years experience. His career has encompassed extensive exploration for gold, diamonds, base metals and mineral sands and was instrumental in compiling one of Australia’s largest aeromagnetic databases, now held by Image Resources. Using this database, Mr. Sakalidis contributed to a number of discoveries, including gold discoveries such as the Three Rivers and the Rose deposits in Western Australia. He also played a critical role in the acquisition of the Image Resources exploration tenements, and the design and interpretation of the magnetic surveys that led to the discovery of the large mineral sands resources at the Dongara project of Magnetic Minerals NL, of which he was also a founding director.
Gary Johnson, MAusIMM, TMS, AICD - Non-executive Director
Mr. Johnson is a metallurgist with more than thirty years of broad experience in all aspects of the mining industry. In his early career, he gained operational and project expertise with a range of metals in operations in Africa and Australia. Later, he was a member of the team operating the metallurgical pilot plant at the giant Olympic Dam copper, gold and uranium project in South Australia.
In 1998, after ten years as chief metallurgist with a large gold producer, Mr. Johnson formed his own specialised hydrometallurgical consulting company. During this period he worked closely with LionOre Mining International to develop the Activox® process for treating sulphide concentrates. Then, in 2006, LionOre acquired Mr. Johnson’s consulting company, and he joined LionOre as a senior executive. In 2007, LionOre was taken over by MMC Norilsk Nickel and in 2009 he became managing director of the latter’s Australian operations.
Currently, Mr. Johnson runs his own consulting company, which specialises in high-level metallurgical and strategic advice. He also holds several patents in the field of hydrometallurgy and is a director of the TSX-listed Hard Creek Nickel Corporation.