Why did the Kalium Lakes (ASK:KLL) share price sink 16% today?

Shares in the mining company have dropped considerably today.

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The Kalium Lakes Ltd (ASX: KLL) share price has been in a sea of red all day today, dropping to an intraday low of 12.5 cents in afternoon trade. This comes after the mineral exploration company provided a number of updates on its Beyondie SOP Project (BSOPP) this morning.

At the time of market close, the Kalium Lakes share price was down 16.1%, trading at 13 cents apiece. Let's take a look at what might have sent its shares down today.

But first, a little background…

The company's Beyondie SOP Project, located in Western Australia, is mining to extract and produce sulphate of potash (SOP) — a high yield, premium fertiliser.

SOP is attractive for use in the growth of good-quality fruit and vegetables, enriching the colour of flowers and ultimately increasing potassium levels in organic fertilisers.

Kalium Lakes' SOP production project is the first of its kind for Australia, and the company aims to deliver the product to both local and international markets.

Project construction completed

In the update released this morning, Kalium Lakes announced it had completed construction of the BSOPP site and obtained an operating license for the site from the Western Australia Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

However, the miner also reported a lower-than-expected quantity of harvested and produced potassium salts.

The miner advised it had successfully produced a small amount of standard grade SOP, and deemed it a "practical achievement" for the site.

Looking forward, the company has identified later-stage commissioning hurdles with the SOP purification plant — including the variability in grades of harvested potassium salt, process control and non-critical mechanical issues.

However, both Kalium Lakes and its German partner, EBTEC (a joint venture that includes German-based K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies), have committed to resolve these issues to ensure smooth operations from here on.

Management commentary

Commenting on the updates, K-UTEC CEO Markus Pfänder said:

This is a strong validation of the process flowsheet and the work of all on-site personnel in delivering this landmark milestone. We now look forward to working alongside the Kalium Lakes' team in completing commissioning and driving plant ramp up to steady state operations. 

All encountered plant issues are resolvable and we are currently implementing a detailed action plan to deliver targeted nameplate plant output levels.

Kalium Lakes CEO Len Jubber added:

The focus of the Kalium Lakes' team and its project partners remains unchanged — delivering Beyondie to
commercial production and then nameplate capacity in a safe and sustainable manner as rapidly as

Kalium Lakes share price snapshot

The Kalium Lakes share price has experienced a volatile year, dropping 33% since January.

The company has a market capitalisation of around $152 million based on its current share price.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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