A key shiploading contract for the development of a potash export facility at the northwest Western Australia port of Wyndham has been awarded by project proponent Agrimin to Transhipment Services Australia (TSA).
An MoU was signed on 9 October that will see TSA develop a cost-effective and fit-for-purpose barge-loading and transhipment system customised for transfer of potash to deepwater bulkers up to Ultramax (62,000 dwt) size.
Agrimin is progressing the Lake Mackay potash project, claimed to be the largest undeveloped sulphite-of-potash (SOP)-bearing salt lake in the world. Comprising 12 tenements and spanning a total area of 4,370 sq km, the project is based on extracting SOP mineralisation, dissolved in the lake’s brine.
TSA’s management team previously provided barge loading operations at the Ridges Iron Ore Project (RIOP) in Wyndham, successfully loading 119 bulk carriers to export iron ore to China. The RIOP was exporting approximately 1.5 Mtpa from Wyndham using barge loading.
Agrimin and TSA said they plan to develop a similar barge loading facility to support the large-scale production of chloride-free potash from the Mackay Potash Project. The facility will be configured to handle a range of cargo sizes and with flexibility to accommodate production tonnages based on customer demand.
Agrimin has recently obtained a suitable site at Wyndham Port for a storage and shipment facility, with Kerman Contracting awarded a contract to design a truck-unloading hopper system, covered storage sheds, granulation equipment, workshops and offices, and is already involved in the engineering design for the definitive feasibility study at Lake Mackay.