Potash West said it has achieved major breakthroughs in the area of identifying a commercial process to produce potash from its greensands resources in Western Australia.

The company noted that benefication testworks from its greensands resources in Western Australia has confirmed K2O upgrading of 120%.

Target process feed grades were obtained from various samples of the Poison Hill Greensand sequence.

The company applied a screening and magnetic separation process that shows that quartz, feldspars and chalk can be removed by sizing and magnetic separation leaving a clean glauconite concentrate with a grade of over 6% K2O.

Potash West MD Patrick McManus said these results show that the company can cost-effectively upgrade the feed to the processing plant to a grade of approximately 6% K2O, over twice the grade of the mined material.

"This will substantially reduce treatment costs by removing gangue minerals, some of which would be acid consuming," added Patrick.

"The extensive greensand deposits within the Dandaragan Trough have the potential to reduce Australia’s reliance on potash imports, which will lower costs for an essential ingredient of modern farming."

The company plans to finalise a flowsheet by mid 2012, and commence a scoping study in the second half of 2012.