QUARTERLY ACTIVITIES REPORT FOR PERIOD ENDING 31 MARCH 2018
Mackay SOP Project
- Pre-Feasibility Study progressed and on track for completion in Q2-2018
- Additional long-term pump testing completed on pilot trenches
- Pilot evaporation pond construction completed
- Cash balance was $7.7 million at 31 March 2018
Agrimin Limited (ASX: AMN) (“Agrimin” or “the Company”) is pleased to report its activities for the quarter ending 31 March 2018.
Mackay SOP Project – Western Australia (100% owned)
The Mackay Sulphate of Potash (“SOP”) Project is located in Western Australia and is 100% owned by Agrimin (Figure 1).
Lake Mackay is the largest known SOP-bearing salt lake in Australia and is the low point of an enormous groundwater and surface water catchment area. Lake Mackay covers an area of approximately 3,500km2 and measures approximately 80km east-west and north-south. The salt lake is comparable in size to the two major sources of primary SOP production, being the 4,400km2 Great Salt Lake in the USA and the 5,500km2 Lop Nur (Luobupo operation) in China.
Lake Mackay’s hydrogeological setting and significant size provide important attributes that support the development of a globally significant SOP operation. The Project currently has Indicated Mineral Resources of 4.3 million tonnes and Inferred Mineral Resources of 18.9 million tonnes of SOP based on specific yield. Current Mineral Resources are hosted by a single contiguous deposit covering an on-lake area of 2,201km2 with brine commencing approximately 40cm below surface across the entire deposit area. The deepest drill hole on Lake Mackay is 30m with the deposit remaining open below this depth.
AGRIMIN LIMITED INTERIM FINANCIAL REPORT
FOR THE HALF-YEARENDED 31 DECEMBER 2017
Review of operations
Agrimin has 100% ownership of the Mackay Sulphate of Potash (“SOP”) Project located in Western Australia.
Agrimin has a strategic focus on the exploration for and development of SOP deposits. The Company is aiming to take advantage of the strong market fundamentals which are currently supportive of new SOP production. Global demand of SOP currently exceeds supply and Agrimin expects that SOP deposits throughout Western Australia will become an important source of supply to meet world demand.
Mackay SOP Project (100% Agrimin)
The Mackay SOP Project is situated in Western Australia approximately 540 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory and accessed via well-maintained existing roads. The Adelaide to Darwin transcontinental railway connects Alice Springs to the north and south coasts of Australia where major shipping terminals are located.
During the half-year, the Company expanded its project area, applying for three Exploration Licences (EL’s) and two Miscellaneous Licences
(ML’s) located in Western Australia and two EL’s located in the Northern Territory.
The Mackay SOP Project now covers a total area of 4,566km² which includes an on-lake area of 3,383km2. The Company’s focus is on development studies for a 370,000 tonne per year operation contained solely in Western Australia and within the 2,384km2 area which has been cleared under a Native Title Agreement signed during the half-year.
Lake Mackay is the largest known SOP-bearing salt lake in Australia and is the low point of an enormous groundwater and surface water catchment area that is approximately 87,000km2. The lakebed itself covers an area of approximately 3,500km2 and measures approximately 100km east- west and north-south. The lakebed is comparable to the lakebed areas at two major sources of SOP production, being the 4,400km2 Great Salt Lake in the USA and the 5,500km2 Lop Nur (Luobupo operation) in China.
Lake Mackay’s hydrogeological setting and significant size provide important attributes that support the development of a salt lake operation. The Project currently has Indicated Mineral Resources of 4.3 million tonnes and Inferred Mineral Resources of 18.9 million tonnes of SOP based on specific yield. The Mineral Resources encompass an area of 2,201km2, within Agrimin’s granted tenure with brine commencing approximately
40cm below surface across the entire deposit area. The deepest hole drilled on Lake Mackay has been 30m with the deposit remaining open below this depth. The Mineral Resources do not take into account any natural recharge factor which could increase the amount of extractable resources over the life of an operation.
SOP production begins with pumping brine from trenches into a series of solar evaporation ponds. It is planned to harvest the crystallised Potassium salts from the ponds and feed them into the process plant. The planned process route is conventional and will comprise crushing, flotation, decomposition, SOP conversion, drying and sizing.
On 23 August 2016 the Company announced the Scoping Study compiled by Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd for the Mackay SOP Project. The
Study outputs indicate SOP production of 370,000 tonnes per year over a 20 year life, and an average total cash cost of US$256/t FOB (±35%).
Agrimin continued to focus on maximising value from the development of its 100% owned Mackay SOP Project located in Western Australia by progressing with the Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) and components of a Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”). In July 2017, Advisian was appointed as the PFS engineer and project manager and throughout the half-year the Company’s owners team and consultants continued to progress the PFS which included the assessment of a number of production and transport scenarios. The Company elected to extend the PFS program to allow assessment of options which have the potential to materially increase production rates and lower the Project’s cash costs. The extended PFS program is planned for completion in the second quarter of 2018. Based on the Company’s project delivery timeline, the extension to the PFS will not impact the overall timeline to first production. Extension of the PFS is expected to allow a more efficient and focused approach for the DFS and the environmental assessment process.
MACKAY SOP PROJECT FIELDWORK UPDATE
• Pump testing completed at a further three trench locations
• Indicative steady-state pumping rates of up to 4.3m³/day/m of trench
• Pilot evaporation pond construction nearing completion
Agrimin Limited (ASX: AMN) (“Agrimin” or “the Company”) is pleased to provide an update of field activities underway at the Mackay Sulphate of Potash (“SOP”) Project in Western Australia.
Long-Term Trench Pump Testing
During 2017, the Company completed the excavation of 14 trenches across Lake Mackay (Figure 1). Between August and December 2017, four of the trench sites (being T1, T3, T6 and T9) were subject to long-term pumping tests with durations ranging from 25 to 125 days. Final pumping rates at the conclusion of each test were between 0.3 to 1.4m3 per day per metre of trench (“m3/day/m”). This data has been used to calibrate the hydrogeological model and to improve the understanding of brine recovery rates for the Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”).
Long-term pumping tests re-commenced in January 2018 and have recently been completed at three additional trench sites (being T8, T11 and T12) with durations ranging from 14 to 45 days (Table 1). Final pumping rates at the conclusion of these tests were between 0.9 and 4.3m3
/day/m. These rates are believed to be indicative of steady-state conditions for these trenches.
The wet season at Lake Mackay typically occurs between December and March each year and as to be expected the recently completed pumping tests experienced periods of rainfall and run-off. The Company has gathered valuable data from the trenches and monitoring bores during these active recharge events, which will provide important input into on-going hydrogeological modelling studies.
The excavated material from the pilot trenches has been used to construct enclosed bunds along the outsides of most trenches. This is also planned in the full-scale design for the trenches. The bunds act to prevent direct ingress of rainwater run-off into the trenches.
The bunds proved to be effective in limiting the impact of rainfall during the pumping tests at T11 and T12. The assay results of brine samples taken during these pumping tests show only negligible dilution to the brine concentrations over the first 27 days (Table 3). Assays results are pending for the final 18 days of these tests. It is important to note that the first set of assays for each trench may have higher than natural concentrations due
to the process of evaporation and concentration taking place during the period between when each trench was constructed to when pump testing was commenced.
Agrimin Limited is a Western Australian based minerals company and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: AMN). Agrimin has 100% ownership of the large-scale Mackay Sulphate of Potash (SOP) Project located in Western Australia.
Agrimin’s strategic focus on SOP is motivated by excellent market fundamentals which are supportive for the creation of a new large-scale SOP producer. Growth in demand for fertilizers, including SOP, is forecast to be driven by the world’s need to feed growing populations from shrinking arable land resulting in the need to improve agricultural yields. Accordingly, Agrimin expects that SOP deposits throughout Western Australia will become an important source to meet increasing world demand.
The Mackay SOP Project is situated on a Western Australian salt lake and spans 2,560 square kilometers. The Project contains the world’s largest known Mineral Resources of brine-hosted SOP and the deposit only extends to an average depth of only 24.7 meters. In August 2016, Agrimin reported the results of a positive Scoping Study.
Agrimin has a strong working relationship with traditional land owners and the Company believes the Mackay Project can create greatly improved community and employment opportunities for the Aboriginal people of local communities.
Chairman and Non-Executive Director
Appointed: 22 April 2016
Mr Sampson is an internationally experienced business leader, director and mining professional with 30 years resources industry experience. In addition to significant project development and operating experience, he is an experienced director with listed and non-listed company and joint venture governance experience across multiple international jurisdictions. Brad has been the Managing Director of Discovery Metals Ltd and held senior management roles in resources and engineering companies including Newcrest Mining, Gold Fields, and Thiess. His experience covers the entire cycle of exploration, development, operations and closure, and includes equity and debt funding of resources projects, government relations and product marketing.
Mark Savich B Comm, GradDipMinExplGeoSc, CFA, CA, GAICD
CEO and Executive Director
Appointed: 1 December 2012
Mr Savich has over 13 years of technical and financial experience in the resources industry, dealing from early stage exploration through to production. He is skilled in project identification, technical and economic evaluation and public company management. Mr Savich holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Mineral Exploration Geoscience from Curtin University. He is a CFA Charterholder, a Chartered Accountant (CA) and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
Alec Pismiris B Comm, MAICD, AGIA
Non-Executive Director and Company Secretary
Appointed: 2 October 2013
Mr Pismiris has over 30 years of experience in the securities, finance and resources industry and is currently a director of five ASX listed companies. Since 1990 Mr Pismiris has served as a director and company secretary for various ASX listed companies as well as a number of unlisted public and private companies. Mr Pismiris completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Western Australia, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an associate of The Governance Institute of Australia. Mr Pismiris has participated numerous times in the processes by which boards have assessed the acquisition and financing of a diverse range of assets and has participated in and become familiar with the range of evaluation criteria used and the due diligence processes commonly adopted in the commercial assessment of corporate opportunities.
Tom Lyons B Sc (Geology)
General Manager – Exploration and Development
Appointed: 22 March 2014
Mr Lyons is a Geologist with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Australia. Mr Lyons has broad experience in a range of commodities including industrial minerals, precious and base metals and bulks. He has worked in a number of different roles throughout parts of both Australia and Europe, including having previously conducted exploration programs in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia. Mr Lyons also has experience in corporate development and financing activities.
The Mackay Sulphate of Potash (SOP) Project comprises of seven tenements covering a total area of 2,560 square kilometers. The Project covers the majority of Lake Mackay, which is a Western Australian salt lake, and contains the world’s largest known Mineral Resources of brine-hosted SOP.
The Project is situated in Western Australia approximately 540 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. The Project is accessed from Alice Springs by road. Major airline access is via daily commuter flights to the Alice Springs International Airport. The Adelaide-to-Darwin transcontinental railway also connects Alice Springs to the north and south coasts of Australia.
The Mackay SOP Project has Indicated Mineral Resources of 4.3 million tonnes and Inferred Mineral Resources of 18.9 million tonnes of SOP (based on specific yield) at a Potassium concentration of 3,603 mg/L of brine. The Mineral Resources are estimated on the basis of brine volume from surface to an average depth of only 24.7 meters.
In August 2016, Agrimin reported the results of a positive Scoping Study for the Project.
Agrimin has executed a Land Access Agreement with the Kiwirrkurra people and the Company is encouraged by the high level of support that local Aboriginal people are providing. Agrimin believes the Mackay SOP Project has the potential to lead to greatly improved community and employment opportunities for the people of local communities