The Bounty potash project is a surface potash brine deposit located in the Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah, 120 miles west of Salt Lake City. The project is 15 miles north of the Wendover surface potash brine mine. The Wendover operation has been producing potash for 75 years and has an additional 125 years of reserves. Potash is produced at Wendover using brine collection ditches and solar evaporation ponds to concentrate naturally occuring brine, with final processing in a simple flotation mill. The Wendover mine has annual production of 100,000 tons of potash and 200,000 tons of magnesium chloride, with annual gross revenue of $65 million per year. Indications from drilling data suggests that the Bounty project is similar in size and grade to the Wendover mine.
Key Attributes of Surface Potash Brine Operations:
Low capital expenditure
Low operating costs
Inexpensive to explore
Simple milling process
Easier to secure mining permits
Surface Potash Brine Operations Have:
No hard rock to blast or move, the host sand and clay formation is very easy to dig
No mining staff or engineers, requires minimal production, maintenance and mill crews
No fleet of haul trucks, loaders, maintenance or blasting equipment
No shafts, open pits, underground workings, waste dumps or tailings
No crushing circuits, cyanide, explosives, compressors or ventilation systems
The Bounty potash project has not been fully explored. In 1966 Quintana Petroleum drilled 35 auger holes at the project and adjacent areas defining 5.1 million tons of potash (MOP) grading 6.8 grams/liter. Quintana limited the estimation of the resource to the top 10 feet of the brine aquifer, the depth limits of the auger drilling equipment. Mesa controls 80% of the resource area, including potential sites for a mill and evaporation ponds. The Quintana resource is historical in nature and was calculated using a polygonal contour estimation method, the industry standard prior to NI 43-101 standards, thus it is not NI 43-101 compliant and should not be considered as a current resource.
Mesa is working with the BLM and State of Utah to permit the auger sampling program. The exploration work will take approximately 2 months to complete, which will include some sampling to twin and confirm the samples taken by Quintana. Results will be used to generate a resource calculation.
To see a working example of a surface brine operation south of Bounty, click here:
Intrepid Potash's Wendover Potash Mine
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