Australian Potash has received support from Western Australia’s environmental watchdog the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for the Lake Wells sulphate of potash (SoP) project.

The EPA board has recommended that the Western Australian Environment Minister should approve the full development of Lake Wells project.

The Lake Wells project is a palaeo-channel brine-hosted SoP project in Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia (WA). It is located 500km northeast of Kalgoorlie in the Eastern Goldfields of WA.

APC executive chairman Matt Shackleton said: “Our typically thorough approach to the Approvals Pathway is reflected in the very positive liaison we have enjoyed with the EPA over the past 2 years, and in the concise and effective list of conditions we will adhere to through development and production.

“We are continuing discussions in the Offtake Program, with in excess of 75% of our forecast output already contracted under binding take or pay agreements. The plant EPC tender package has been issued and we are reviewing EPC bids received for several other packages.

“The formal debt due diligence process has commenced with domestic and international financing institutions now in the data room.”

Australian Potash expects to release an update on other tasks in the coming weeks.

The project is expected to produce 14.7 million tonnes (Mt) of SOP over an estimated mine life of 20 years.

It is expected to be developed in two stages, with the first stage expected to produce 150,000t of SoP a year during the first five years of operation.

The second stage is expected to produce 300,000t of SoP a year during the remaining 15 years of operational life.

In June 2017, Australian Potash signed a second memorandum of understanding to sell up to 100,000tpa of sulphate of potash to China’s Hubei Agricultural Means of Production Group from Lake Wells project.