Kalium Lakes has sold its first batch of sulphate of potash (SOP) from its Beyondie SOP mine in Western Australia to local fertiliser manufacturer and distributor CSBP Fertilisers.
The delivery comes as part of Kalium Lakes’ offtake agreement with K+S Asia Pacific and instils confidence in an emerging industry that can play an important part in agricultural markets at home and abroad.
Product is expected to be despatched in regular weekly deliveries over the next month as part of the sale. Kalium Lakes executed the 10-year offtake agreement with K+S Asia Pacific in 2019.
Kalium Lakes said it hopes for its standard grade SOP to find its way to WA farmers for the 2023 season, reducing the reliance on imported potash.
“We are pleased to advise the loading of our first delivery of SOP from the Beyondie SOP mine in accordance with previous advice to shareholders that commercial sales were targeted to commence in July 2022,” Kalium Lakes chief executive officer Len Jubber said.
“This is an important milestone in the commissioning of the Beyondie SOP mine as the sole Australian producer of SOP.
“It also heralds the start of the era of domestic SOP production in Australia, for distribution to the Australian and international agricultural markets.”
K+S Asia Pacific managing director Dr Marcus Ross said first Beyondie sales was a significant achievement for Kalium Lakes.
“People say the first steps are the hardest,” he said. “But the commencement of deliveries by Kalium Lakes is a major leap towards the commercial supply of SOP into the agricultural sector. This is excellent news for farmers in Australia and other markets in south-east Asia.”
Following the successful restart of Kalium Lakes SOP plant early in the June quarter, the company produced over 1400 tonnes of commercially saleable SOP up until the end of July 2022.
Kalium Lakes will complete a planned plant shutdown in August, before targeting a ramp-up of SOP production from Beyondie.
The coming months will see Kalium Lakes start fine tuning its Koppern compaction plant, which was partially commissioned in June. This is also expected to result in higher-priced granular SOP comprising an increasing proportion of the company’s sales.
The SOP market has seen prices double from their long-term average in the last 12 months, largely instigated by economic and financial sanctions on Belarus and Russia, which together account for more than 35 per cent of the global muriate of potash (MOP) market.
MOP is the primary input in the production of approximately half the world’s SOP.