Verdant Minerals Ltd. said Aug. 10 that it entered an agreement enabling Australian water technology company Aqua Guardian Group Ltd. to earn up to a 40% interest in the Karinga Lakes sulfate of potash project in Australia's Northern Territory by spending A$3 million on the project.
The agreement is based on the staged commercialization of Aqua Guardian's aMES mineral processing technology, which is a more efficient and cost-effective way of producing valuable minerals from salt lake brines than traditional methodologies, according to a statement.
In the first stage of the agreement, Aqua Guardian can earn an initial 15% stake in the project within 18 months by spending A$1 million.
Funds are earmarked for developing a lab-scale aMES pilot plant, test work using Karinga Lakes salts, and completing a scoping study. Upon completion of the first stage, the companies will form a joint venture.
In the next phase, Aqua Guardian can up its stake by an additional 15% or 25% by contributing a further A$1 million to A$2 million.
As part of the deal, Verdant secured exclusive rights to the aMES technology for brine projects in the Northern Territory and South Australia. In addition, the company can choose to participate in two additional brine projects proposed by Aqua Guardian over the next six years, which may include lithium-prospective properties.
"The initial stage-one work on developing and commercializing the aMES technology will be managed by [Aqua Guardian] which will enable Verdant Minerals to continue its primary focus of developing its flagship Ammaroo phosphate project," Chris Tziolis, Verdant's managing director, said.