Potash player eyes local jobs, contracts
The new boss of a company striving to open WA’s first sulphate of potash operation in the northern Goldfields says it hopes to provide local contract and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in the Wiluna community.
Salt Lake Potash emerged from a trading halt yesterday with $13 million from an oversubscribed share placement, which it plans to spend on early works at its Lake Way project near the town, about 500km north of KalgoorlieBoulder.
The funding will be used to construct evaporation ponds and dewater the Williamson gold mine under a deal with the mine’s owner Blackham Resources as raw feed for the brine extraction project.
A decision on whether to develop the project will depend on future studies, although a recent scoping study indicated it would cost $49 million to bring a 50,000 tonnes a year pilot plant into pro-
This Lake Way mine is surrounded by Blackham and we’re in relationships with them, so there’s going to be benefits that flow out into that township. Tony Swierizcuk
duction to export the rich fertiliser product by boat to Asian markets.
A former Fortescue Metals Group executive who ran its Christmas Creek iron ore mine in the Pilbara for five years, new Salt Lake Potash chief executive Tony Swierizcuk, said he wanted the project to be able to work with the community.
“This Lake Way mine is surrounded by Blackham and we’re in relationships with them, so there’s going to be benefits that flow out into that township,” he said. “Christmas Creek, where I last was, that was the largest single site of indigenous employment and we had over 400 indigenous people there, so I very much understand what needs to be done, how to do it and the models that are required.
“That said, it really becomes a partnership with the community and the elders to make sure people are wanting to work and support business opportunities.
“So it’s a two-way working together kind of scenario.”
Mr Swierizcuk said the company’s new management was reviewing the scoping study prepared for the Lake Way demonstration project ahead of the preparation of prefeasibility level studies in the coming months.
Salt Lake Potash holds exploration interests across nine salt lakes around the Goldfields including Lake Ballard, near Menzies, and Lake Wells, east of Laverton.