The Mackay Sulphate of Potash (SOP) Project comprises twelve tenements covering a total area of 4,370 square kilometres spanning Lake Mackay, which is the world’s largest undeveloped SOP-bearing Salt Lake.
Scope of Work
Primero has been retained by Agrimin to undertake the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the process plant and extended non-process infrastructure for the Mackay SOP Project.
The project will utilise a network of shallow trenches to extract brine from only the top 3 metres of the Salt Lake. A network of brine extraction trenches will be constructed and will feed brine into a series of solar evaporation ponds where SOP bearing salts will be precipitated. Wet salts containing high-grade SOP will be pumped to a process plant as to produce 426,000tpa of dry product.
Given the unique attributes of the project optimising plant constructability and operability remains a key priority of the study. In addition to the DFS Primero services have been retained to provide preliminary design services for the raw water borefield and additional balance of plant.
Sulphate of Potash
Sulphate of Potash (SOP) is a premium form of potash fertilizer which contains two of the six macro-nutrients that are essential to plant growth, being Potassium and Sulphur. The total Potassium fertilizer market was 75 million tonnes in 2017, predominantly comprising of 68 million tonnes of Muriate of Potash (MOP) and 7 million tonnes of SOP.
SOP contains 18% Sulphur and has almost no Chloride. It is a premium value product which is used principally for specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. SOP is superior to MOP because of its low-level Chloride, which has a toxic impact on many food plants, especially leafy plants. SOP improves the yield, taste, colour and shelf life of crops. SOP is also most suitable for agricultural areas affected by high salinity soils.
As the world’s population expands and the middle class in China continues to emerge, it is anticipated that increasing consumption of specialty crops will drive demand growth for SOP.