The long-term thematics of population growth and intensification of agricultural production continue to underpin increasing global demand for fertiliser minerals, particularly high-quality sulphate of potash (SOP). Catering to this growing demand, the Australian-headquartered Parkway Minerals NL (ASX: PWN) is tapping opportunities in this captivating space via a robust portfolio of high-grade resource projects, targeted at long-term production of fertiliser minerals and lithium salts, that can be discovered in some naturally occurring brines.
Parkway’s attractive project portfolio comprises of:
- Karinga Lakes Potash Project (KLPP)
- New Mexico Lithium Project (NMLP)
- Dandaragan Trough Project (DTP)
- Davenport Resources (ASX: DAV)
Moreover, the company owns 5.6 million shares in the listed entity, Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT). The company also possesses a robust technology portfolio that consists of innovative aMES™ technology and K-Max® technology.
The KLPP, NMLP and the aMES™ technology have been recently acquired by the company via the acquisition of an unlisted public entity of Australia- Consolidated Potash Corporation Ltd (CPC). Let us take a closer look at the company’s newly acquired projects below:
Turning Focus on Karinga Lakes Potash Project
The KLPP is a Joint Venture (JV) with Verdant Minerals Ltd in the Northern Territory, in which CPC had secured an initial 15 per cent interest by completing a scoping study in February 2019. PWN can acquire up to a 40 per cent interest in the KLPP by investing further $2 million via staged investment. The company also holds a conditional option to acquire an additional 10.1 per cent.
The KLPP is located within the groundwater discharge zone of central Australia and comprises a chain of salt lakes. The project is in a great location with major rail and road infrastructure situated near the project, along with the available regional gas options.
A KLPP scoping study was carried out by Parkway’s subsidiaries, in collaboration with Victoria University, Verdant Minerals and a leading technoeconomic modelling expert, whose results were delivered in February 2019.
The study found a number of important strategies to ease the development of the project by potentially eliminating the requirement for process steam, flotation, freshwater bore field and gas pipeline, which represent major expenses in the traditional flowsheet.
The high potential SOP brine project has undergone thorough resource appraisal. Most of the process development studies performed to date, including the technoeconomic study completed by the company, have been based on brine and salt feedstocks from Lake Miningere, where the reported brine composition was considered to be particularly well suited for the SOP production.
The KLPP represents an appealing opportunity for Parkway, as extensive project evaluation initiatives reveal that the subsurface brines can be easily accessed by trenching and concentrated via solar evaporation to produce mixed salts comprising various precursors to potash production, including SOP.
The optimisation opportunities identified at the KLPP have applications for many other potash projects, as discussed below:
- Parkway has received interest from other potash project producers and proponents to investigate the potential of the aMES™ technology.
- The company has performed several evaluations for other projects and is investigating a range of potential collaborative opportunities.
Parkway is currently working with Verdant Minerals to develop a PFS (Pre-Feasibility Study) scope as part of Stage 2 earn-in to the KLPP, contingent on:
- The strategic application of the aMES™ technology package
- Updating the KLPP Resource Statement
The PFS represents an outstanding opportunity to further display the advantages of the aMES™ technology. The KLPP joint venture will determine an appropriate work program to revise the resource estimate for the project to conform with the updated JORC reporting guidelines.
Source: Company’s Presentation (28th October 2019)
Bringing Attention to New Mexico Lithium Project
Parkway initially holds 70 per cent stake in the NMLP, with a right to obtain up to 100 per cent interest through staged investment. The project covers an area of about 40 sq. km of federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management) claims in New Mexico, and is well located with major gas, power, rail and road infrastructure crossing or adjacent to the project region.
The NMLP is highly prospective for hosting lithium and potential potash resource, carrying a potential to directly process brine with the aMES™ technology, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for evaporation ponds.
The project also has the potential to:
- Process and recover numerous additional compounds containing potash as a by-product.
- Rapidly advance a more capital effective and viable lithium production operation relative to conventional development pathways.
- Drill in cooperation with regional exploration firm or other prospective partners.
The optimisation opportunities identified at the NMLP have applications for many other potash projects, with the potential pathways for improving lithium brine project performance being similar to those for potash brine projects.
The company intends to try to shallow drill and/or farm-out for free-carry, to define potentially significant potash and/or lithium resource. The company has obtained interest in supporting other proponents of lithium brine project examine the possible use of the innovative aMES™ technology.
Moreover, it is assessing many potential joint opportunities, including the application of the aMES™ technology in lithium production.
In addition to these projects, Parkway is exploring a range of other strategic initiatives focused on the aMES™ technology, as ongoing discussions with several brine project developers and operators have validated several applications where the technology has the potential to deliver substantial value.
PWN traded last on 18th November 2019 at $0.008. The stock has delivered a return of 100 per cent during the previous six months.
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