Durrant, an experienced operations engineer, joins the company from BHP Billiton Iron Ore (ASX:BHP), where he has held several senior leadership and operational roles.
He carries tertiary qualifications in both mining and mechanical engineering, key skills which will add to the project knowledge base, as well as substantial experience in large-scale open cut mining operations including mine planning, load and haul and drill and blast.
His appointment comes as South Boulder implements its revised development strategy for Colluli with key metallurgical test work underway.
South Boulder recently appointed Saskatchewan Research Council and Global Potash Solutions consultant, Don Larmour on the process design to confirm that combining of three types of potassium-bearing salts at Colluli can be processed to produce potash.
The results are considered pivotal because this approach has the potential to deliver a significant boost to Colluli’s economics, including a considerably lower strip ratio and therefore reduced costs.
It could also result in the production of the superior potash product potassium sulphate, which carries a $300-a-tonne premium to the more common potash product, potassium chloride.
“James has extensive experience in the areas which are now central to our development strategy,” managing director Paul Donaldson said.
“His appointment will help ensure our studies are conducted in a thorough and time-efficient manner, maximising our ability to demonstrate that the project is both technically and financially robust,”
South Boulder is conducting economic assessments and project planning for Colluli and will resume social an environmental impact work in the coming weeks.
Donaldson added that mining studies had also resumed following the pre-feasibility-level analysis conducted last year. This analysis supported South Boulder’s revised approach of processing all the three salt types at the same time.
Colluli is located in the Danakil Depression region of Eritrea, and is just 65 kilometres from the coast comprising around 400 square kilometres. It is positioned favourably relative to the key growth markets for potassium fertiliser.
The JORC/NI43-101 Resource for Colluli stands at 1.08 billion tonnes at 18% KCl for 194 million tonnes of contained potash.
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