The Khorat evaporite basin. Located in northeast Thailand and extending partly into Laos, the basin covers an area of some 130,000 km² and is the world’s largest undeveloped potash resource. The potash deposits are generally gently dipping and at shallow depth (150 to 350 m). Both sylvite and carnallite are present in the mixed stratabound potash-bearing salt and halokinetic potash-bearing salt horizons of the Upper Cretaceous Maha Sarakham formation. Over the past three decades, the potash resources of the Khorat basin have been explored by a number of companies, including the Udon Thani project, developed by Asia Pacific Resources, a Canadian company.
At present, three projects are approaching the production stage and will benefit from a number of competitive advantages, including confirmed Government support for development of the country’s potash resources, investment incentives and good infrastructure including electricity, water, road and rail. The shallow depth to potash deposits, 150 to 350 metres (compared with up to 1,900 metres in Saskatchewan) has a significantly beneficial impact on project capital costs, while a skilled, comparatively low-cost labour force will positively impact operating costs.