Researchers from the University of Cambridge developed a process by which the potash rich rock (potassium silicate) from Cerrado Verde could be used to produce traditional potash formulations such as Potassium Chloride and Sulfate of Potash – a discovery that could enable Verde Potash to service an international export market in addition to Brazil.
A process for producing conventional Muriate of Potash (KCl) and Sulphate of Potash (K2SO4) from potassium silicate was developed by Dr. Derek Fray, Professor and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. On December 1, 2010, Verde filed a patent application in the UK for the production of conventional potash products from potash rock from the Cerrado Verde Project. Sponsored by Verde Potash, the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the university invented a method for reacting the rock with a simple mixture of salts to form water-soluble potash. The reactions occur at moderate temperatures of 800-1000°C and most reagents are regenerated in process. This development represents a dramatic increase of the scope of Cerrado Verde, in that the abundant resource of potassium silicate could be utilized to supply the potash needs of farmers around the world.
In 2011, Verde commissioned SRK Consulting Group to complete a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") for the production of KCl. The Group considered the technical and financial aspects of two production scenarios. The first scenario has an initial production of 0.6 million tonnes per year (“Mtpy”) increasing to 3 Mtpy of KCl (the “Base Case Scenario”). The second scenario has an initial production of 1 Mtpy increasing to 4 Mtpy (the “Upside Case Scenario”). Each scenario was scheduled into three phases, assuming completion of required debt and equity financings and anticipated construction times.
In Q1 2012, the Company announced the results of the PEA, estimating the operating and capital costs for the production of KCl based on a flow sheet developed by Verde and an Engineering Consortium, which includes US companies FLSmidth and Hazen Research, and German company GEA Messo. The current processing concept is simple and straight-forward and the Company believes it can be scaled up to industrial levels.
Click here for details on the PEA.