WA salt lakes could hold sustainable food key

Zach RelphCountryman
Trigg Mining boss Keren Paterson.
Camera IconTrigg Mining boss Keren Paterson. Credit: Sharon Smith

Trigg Mining boss Keren Paterson is upbeat the northern Goldfields’ sprawling salt lakes hold the key to sustainable food production.

For the former mining engineer, the stark white surfaces found across the region’s red terrain will become critical to providing Australian crops with a quality fertiliser product.

Trigg was founded by Ms Paterson about four years ago in a bid to extract potassium-rich harvest salts from its Laverton Links project to process into sulphate of potash.

The junior explorer’s landholding includes 2350sqkm at Laverton Links, based from 35km to 190km east of Laverton, and 323sqkm at the nearby Lake Throssell.

To spruik Trigg’s pursuits, Ms Paterson has been travelling from Geraldton to Esperance, talking to farmers about SOP and its potential for highly concentrated fertiliser use.

Farmers understand the need for potash,

she said.

“They also know that their soil is their No.1 resource, but it’s depleting and they need to put the nutrients back.

“Potassium is one of the four key macro-nutrients for plant growth and it’s just not there in the soils, we need to keep replenishing it.”

Despite WA’s many salt lakes, Australia imports all its potash requirements, namely muriate of potash — a lower alternative used by the State’s farmers at broadacre grain farms.

An opportunity to meet growing fertiliser demand has sparked a race between potash-focused juniors, including Kalium Lakes and Australian Potash, to become Australia’s first SOP producer.

Ms Paterson said she was not driven to claim the nation’s first commercial SOP company title.

The WA School of Mines graduate instead said she was eager to deliver the premium fertiliser to stimulate growth of fruits, vegetables, nuts, tea, coffee and tobacco crops.

From my benefit, Trigg can learn a lot from the lessons of the first movers and the technical knowledge that has been developed by them,

Ms Paterson said.

To achieve the commercial SOP production goal, Ms Paterson has turned from fundies to farmers as she mounts a second tilt at listing Trigg on the Australian Securities Exchange boards.

Trigg lodged its supplementary prospectus last month, with its initial public offering extended to August 26, ahead of the potash-orientated junior’s scheduled ASX listing on September 9.

Through the IPO, the company intends to issue 22.5 million shares at 20¢ each, with one free-attaching listed option for every two shares subscribed for, to raise $4.5 million.

Ms Paterson said the agriculture industry’s push to future-proof sustainability was benefiting the capital raising, with farmers in favour of a WA-based SOP sector.

“We are evolving in our understanding around soil custodianship; it is the future to sustainable agriculture,” she said.

“We also have a better understanding of the supply chain ... the carbon footprint of the product from Canada is different from the carbon footprint of the product coming for WA.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails