Highfield Resources Ltd’s (ASX:HFR) wholly-owned Spanish subsidiary Geoalcali SLU is securing a Joy miner bolter from Komatsu to play a key role in developing the Muga Potash Project in Spain.

The company has signed a contract with Komatsu Mining Corp for the purchase of the equipment, which will be used initially to develop underground access declines.

This represents a commitment of approximately €5 million and is a major step in the process of building the mine at the Muga project.

“Significant milestone”

Highfield Resources CEO Ignacio Salazar said: “The signing of this supply contract with Komatsu is a significant milestone and continues to show the progress and the commitment of the company to the development of Muga.”

The company plans to build the underground access of the Muga deposit with one miner bolter and two leased road-headers.

Having two different types of excavation equipment will provide operational flexibility and reduces construction risk while the additional leased machinery supports the company’s cash preservation objective.

Strategy “more robust”

Salazar said: “The strategy to use both the Joy miner bolter and leased road-headers is more robust as it provides operational and financial flexibility.”

The mine will be accessed via twin parallel declines from the surface, each over a length of 2.6 kilometres to a depth of about 350 metres below the surface.

As well as the decline work, Highfield plans to use the Joy miner bolter in the future to develop the main underground infrastructure galleries.

Entering into the contract with Komatsu now will allow the miner bolter to be delivered, assembled and ready to excavate and construct decline portals following the completion of site preparation activities.

Komatsu is an industry-leading manufacturer and supplier of equipment, technologies and services for the mining and construction markets.

Its mining brands include Joy and P&H, which are used in the extraction and haulage of minerals in underground and surface mining.

Low-cost conventional mine

The Muga project is targeting the relatively shallow sylvinite beds in the project area that cover about 60 square kilometres in the provinces of Navarra and Aragón.

Mining is planned to begin at a depth of around 350 metres from surface and is, therefore, ideal for a relatively low-cost conventional mine.

Highfield has a market cap of approximately A$184.5 million and shares today are slightly higher at A$0.57.