26 February 2014 23:34 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Great Quest Metals has discovered that the mine effluent at its Sua Pan Potash project in Africa has an increased concentration of potash which will allow it to add a recovery operation to the existing processing facility, the company announced on Wednesday.
Vancouver-based Great Quest is focused on the development of African agricultural mineral projects for local production of fertilizers. The Sua Pan is located in Botswana where significant concentrations of potash and potassium sulfate have been recorded in the brines of Sua Pan but have never been recovered commercially.
The Sua Pan is the largest and lowest of three salt pans in the Makgadikgadi Pans region of northeastern Botswana and is considered one of the largest salt flats in the world with a surface area of approximately 4,900 km (3,000 miles). Previous research in the area by the World Bank suggests that the Sua Pan has the capability of producing 163,000 tons/year (147,900 tonnes/year) of the crop nutrient.
In a statement the company said that it has determined that the effluent, also known as bitterns or tailings, that had passed through the existing soda ash and salt processing plant held an elevated concentration of potash versus native brine. This creates a prime opportunity for Great Quest to plan a potash recovery operation with an easy extension to the current processing facility already in place.
Officials said that the potash concentrations in bitterns are reported to exceed 10.9 grams/litre which is more than a 100% improvement over the native brine concentration of 4.3 grams/litre. Great Quest said that this compares favorably with potash concentration in the brine from the Dead Sea of 6.2 grams/litre where there are active brine recovery plants currently operating.
It has been estimated that the brine resources at the Sua Pan site will extend to 2035, but there is a current effort to update the resource estimate which is expected to confirm a longer life of the potash reserves, the company said.
“Great Quest is pleased with the prospect of this addition to our portfolio. Botswana has established itself as a business-friendly jurisdiction and the project is well located in the midst of a region with a mix of established and new agricultural investment. This unique brownfield opportunity complements our operations in Mali and extends our strategy of developing African projects for African markets,” said Jed Richardson, Great Quest CEO.
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