Media Releases

22 June 2020

NAIF loans top more than $2 billion following approval for Western Australia critical minerals project

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is providing support for Australia’s critical minerals sector with approval of a loan of up to $150 million towards the development of the Coburn Heavy Mineral Sands Project in Western Australia.

The Coburn Project – owned by Strandline Resources Limited – is expected to be one of the world’s largest and most capital efficient mineral sands projects, with a strong zircon-titanium product suite.

NAIF’s loan will be used for key infrastructure including a processing plant and equipment.  The project is expected to generate up to $922 million of net public benefit to the region over 25 years and generate up to 315 jobs during construction and up to 190 jobs during operations.

Located 240km north of Geraldton, the Coburn project has ore reserves of 523 million tonnes and an initial mine life of 22.5 years at a planned average mining rate of 23.4Mt per year. Products from the development will be used globally in items including ceramic tiles, refractory, paint, titanium metal and welding rod applications. First production is expected within 18 months of the start of project construction.

NAIF CEO Chris Wade said: “At a critical time for the Northern Australia economy, NAIF’s support for the Coburn Project will provide jobs and investment into our important resources sector. This loan means NAIF has now approved more than $2.1bn in loans to projects right across the north, with $1.2 billion approved in the last 12 months. The mineral sands sector offers exciting potential for Northern Australia and we are delighted to support that with approval of investment towards what is considered one of the world’s largest and capital-efficient mineral sands projects.”

Key development approvals for the Coburn project are already in place and Strandline’s Indigenous Engagement Strategy provides for aspirational Indigenous employment targets, cross cultural awareness training for staff and contractors, ongoing respectful engagement with the Traditional Owners and support for traineeships/apprenticeships.

As a part of NAIF’s loan, NAIF is also offering to help fund an alternative access road for Denham residents working at the project.

The Coburn project is one of a range of resources projects that NAIF has approved investment towards and provides an extra boost to the Australian Government’s Critical Minerals agenda. NAIF has to date approved in loans to resource deals, across iron ore, bauxite and potash sectors.

In Western Australia, NAIF is providing more than $430 million in loans through Investment Decisions and conditional approvals to infrastructure projects, supporting at least 1,400 jobs and delivering benefits to towns and communities across the region.

Following NAIF’s approval, the loan will now be considered by the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia and the Western Australia Government.

 

NAIF CEO Chris Wade

About NAIF

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is a Commonwealth Government lending facility to finance projects via the governments of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia to achieve growth in the economies and populations of northern Australia and encourage and complement private sector investment.

Every NAIF project will support important Indigenous engagement with many projects committing to Indigenous employment or procurement targets.

In Western Australia, NAIF is providing more than $430 million in loans through Investment Decisions and conditional approvals to infrastructure projects, supporting at least 1,400 jobs and delivering benefits to towns and communities across the region. Western Australia projects supported by NAIF include:

  • Support for Australia’s first substantially Indigenous owned iron ore mine (AAMC First Iron Project).
  • Development of a marine support base (Onslow).
  • Support for projects with the potential to create a new domestic industry (Kalium Lakes sulphate of potash project).