Potash player eyes lo­cal jobs, con­tracts

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Josh Chiat

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.

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