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Australian Potash’s Lake Wells Project. Image: Australian Potash

Australian Potash is set to deliver the country’s lowest carbon emitting potash project at its Lake Wells operation in Western Australia.

The sulphate of potash (SOP) project will have lower carbon emissions per tonne of SOP compared with other potash projects in Australia.

This follows the completion of Australian Potash’s front end engineering design (FEED) study for a renewable power solution at Lake Wells.

The Lake Wells project will run on 60 per cent renewable power through wind, solar and battery storage, and will see carbon emissions halved compared with a fossil fuel powered alternative.

Australian Potash managing director Matt Shackleton said the company aimed to maximise the project’s environmental sustainability in the long-term.

“We are running competitive tendering processes for the eight packages of work defined to develop the (Lake Wells SOP project), and bids have been received for the power station (engineering, procurement, construction) package,” he said.

“This package was scoped to include renewable power generation, battery storage and an LNG backup reserve.”

Australian Potash is expected to produce 128 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of SOP.

According to Shackleton, solar powered SOP production can significantly reduce production costs compared with the Mannheim process, which involves heating a furnace to produce potassium sulphate from potassium chloride.

The Mannheim process also produces an environmentally impactful hydrochloric acid by-product.

Stricter controls on emissions and acid disposal have begun to phase out this production method, which on average produces 387 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of SOP, according to Australian Potash.

“Solar-SOP production competes on a cost basis with the industrial Mannheim process, sitting at the lowest end of the global cost of production curve,” Shackleton said.

“The (Lake Wells SOP project) will produce SOP into that lowest quartile, and will also be one of the lowest carbon footprint potash projects globally.”