Mining for potash in the Australian desert is not a job that many are willing to do.
Thankfully for the companies operating the Karinga Lakes Potash project, the Northern Territory government has offered a solution: Prisoners.
Reuters reports that the North Territories Minister for Justice and Correctional Services has introduced an arrangement whereby inmates work at the mine, located about 250 km south-west of Alice Springs, and are paid A$16 an hour. Portions of the wages are used to pay for jail costs and victims' assistance funds, the rest is put toward spending money for the inmates as well as trust funds.
"It's work aimed at normalization and lifting people's self-esteem, giving them a chance to build a future for themselves," John Elfernik, the justice and correctional services minister told Reuters reporters.
The Karinga Lakes Potash project is owned by a joint venture between Rum Jungle Resources (ASX:RUM) and Reward Minerals (ASX:RWD). The companies are exploring for sulfate of potash and potassium magnesium sulfate in up to 26 dry salt lakes.