Increased funding to $490 million will support the expansion of BCI Minerals’ Mardie Salt & Potash Project in Western Australia thanks to an Australian Government, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan. It is an increase of $40 million on the original loan approved last year.
Minister for Northern Australia David Littleproud said the project will be the first new major salt project developed in Australia in two decades. “And it is the only Australian operation planning to produce commercially saleable salt and sulphate of potash,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This extra funding from the Australian Government will support the Mardie project to increase its production of high purity salt to 5.35 million tonnes per year, and sulphate of potash to 140,000 tonnes per year.”
“The means the Australian Government is helping to secure a vital source of chemical and fertiliser supply for agriculture both at home and overseas.
“In addition to that, it will create hundreds of good quality jobs during construction and operations, which will benefit nearby communities like Karratha, Dampier and Onslow.”
The Federal Member for Durack, Melissa Price, said the project further diversifies the north-west’s economy and the opportunity for greater growth.
“You don’t have to take this with a pinch of salt; this is one of the most resource rich and most beautiful parts of the world and this investment will bring more jobs to expand our communities.”
NAIF’s loan is being backed up by a $110 million conditionally approved debt facility from the Australian Government’s Export Finance Australia, with further funding from a consortium of banks.
NAIF CEO Chris Wade said Mardie Salt is one of a range of resources projects that NAIF has supported across northern Australia, including projects in the iron ore, bauxite, amorphous silica, metallurgical coal, mineral sands, and the potash sectors.
“We are delighted to be able to increase our support to the Mardie Salt & Potash Project which continues NAIF’s record of investing for positive economic impact in northern Australia,” he said.
Situated on the west Pilbara coast, the project will be powered by renewables, deriving 99 % of its energy from natural solar and wind energy, and is forecast to create hundreds of construction and operational jobs. NAIF has committed $3.1 billion in support to projects across northern Australia, with in excess of $1.1 billion of that in Western Australia, supporting more than 2,500 jobs.