Business leaders gather in Broome for NAIF forum

Key figures from local industry attended the breakfast event organised by the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

Pictured (left to right): NAIF WA-based Director Justin Mannolini, Sheffield Resources Managing Director Bruce McFadzean and NAIF Chair Khory McCormick.

Key figures from local industry attended the breakfast event organised by the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).


NAIF is a $5 billion facility set up as an initiative of the Australian Government to provide loans, which may be on concessional terms, to support and encourage infrastructure development in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

Attendees included proponents, business and political stakeholders, NAIF’s Board of Directors, CEO Laurie Walker, Peter Ross, Executive Director Origination, and senior management.

The event coincided with NAIF’s first Board meeting in Broome and showcased north Western Australia’s successes and aspirations, considered future growth opportunities and illustrated the case for future investment in the region.

Ms Laurie Walker, NAIF CEO, said: “NAIF is available to help businesses with their infrastructure needs when they may not be able to access finance from mainstream banks. We offer finance to projects who provide clear public benefit and this forum was an excellent opportunity to update local stakeholders on some of the projects we have supported and hear from them about their particular stories.”

In its three years of operation NAIF has made $1.4 billion in investment commitments to infrastructure projects across northern Australia. Five projects in Western Australia have been approved loan funding, to a total value of $295m. A further 15 WA projects are currently in due diligence with NAIF.

Among the beneficiaries of NAIF support in WA to date is Sheffield Resources which has an approved loan of up to $95m towards its Thunderbird Minerals Sands Project between Derby and Broome that contains the world’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped reserves of zircon and ilmenite.

NAIF’s loan will enable Sheffield Resources to build a power station and gas storage facility, mine site roads, construct a mine site village, shed and upgrade a ship loader at Derby Port.

Bruce McFadzean, Managing Director told attendees: “Working with NAIF has been very beneficial for Sheffield Resources. Through NAIF, we are able to own the assets which we would not normally be able to do on such a long mine-life project.

“We have had a lot of wonderful support and a lot of wonderful comments from investors both globally and within Australia about the NAIF government support. It has been a great journey.”


NAIF has to date approved loans to five projects in Western Australia, to a total value of $295m.

Western Australia NAIF loan commitments (investment decisions and conditional approvals)


Kalium Lakes Limited Sulphate of potash project and supporting infrastructure: gas pipeline; gas fired power station, communication and transport facilities and accommodation facilities $74m $169m net public benefit (in present value terms) over the first 30 years of mine life as well as providing the first domestic source of a fertiliser which plays a significant role in improving agricultural yield and productivity.

140 jobs at construction peak and 45 jobs in operations.

Commercial in Confidence $90m
Sheffield Resources Limited Processing plant, LNG power station, gas storage facilities and  ship loading and logistics assets to support the project $95m $487m over the 42 year mine life, employees will stay in the region rather than fly in fly out, this will support economic activity in Derby and Broome. 400 jobs during construction and 280 jobs during the mine life.
Pilbara Minerals Limited Upgrade of a public road, south of Port Hedland $19.5m Public road will remain in public hands and available to all road users.
Onslow Marine Support Base Development of a marine supply facility $16.8m Forecast $100m benefit over 10-year period for WA. A multi-user facility provides chandlering, heavy lift capabilities, reverse logistics, refuelling, transport, freight and emergency services to support onshore and offshore industries in middle and southern Carnarvon Basin.  Estimated 60 construction jobs with 150 operations jobs.


In three years of operation NAIF has made $1.4 billion in investment commitments, comprising:

  • 11 Investment Decisions
  • 2 Conditional Approvals.

The total project value of approved NAIF loans is $3.0 billion

NAIF has made commitments to all jurisdictions: Queensland – $783m (4 loans), Northern Territory – $345m (4 loans), Western Australia – $295m (5 loans).

Over 800 construction jobs and 500 job opportunities in operations phases will be generated across NAIF’s WA projects.

Public Benefit includes:

  • efficiencies for business through closer access to core maintenance and other facilities;
  • better access to remote Pilbara locations for families, businesses and Indigenous communities; and
  • development of new domestic markets that will lead to improved agricultural yield and productivity

Indigenous Engagement examples include:

  • OMSB exploring partnership opportunities with local Indigenous businesses;
  • Sheffield Resources’ commitment to build to 40% Indigenous workforce in the first eight years of operation; and
  • Kalium Lakes actively identifying Indigenous businesses and inviting them to supply goods and services.

Strong pipeline:

As at 30 June 2019, 15 WA projects are currently in due diligence phase of NAIF’s assessment. Projects under assessment include Agrimin Limited; Venturex Resources Limited; EcoMag Limited; BCI Minerals Limited and Hastings Technology Metals Limited.