BCI Minerals Limited Mardie Salt and Potash Project

Loan towards to the construction and development of the Mardie Salt and Potash Project (Investment Decision: December 2020)

About the Project

The Mardie Project, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, involves construction of large ponds and crystallisers over a 100km2 area, two process plants and a new port facility for export of salt, sulphate of potash (‘SOP’) and other products. Mardie aims to export 4.4Mtpa of high-purity salt and 120ktpa of SOP via solar evaporation of an inexhaustible seawater resource and a production process driven mainly by natural solar and wind energy.

Mardie will be the first major salt operation developed in Australia in two decades and the project will be the first Australian project producing and selling both salt and SOP.

The proposed facilities will provide the opportunity to expand Australia’s chemical and agriculture industries over a 60+ year operating life.

A new transhipment port within the Pilbara Ports Authority’s Cape Preston West Port area will enable exports from the Mardie Project, and will be available for other developments in the region.

Securing NAIF’s commitment is a key step in Mardie’s funding strategy, because it accounts for a significant proportion of the total funding requirement and has important features which will support BCI in securing the remaining debt and equity funding.

Subject to the final Mardie Project financing structure, it is anticipated that initial development funding will be sourced from equity, and the NAIF loan will be drawn in late 2022.

Note: Financial assistance to the project is subject to a number of conditions including the finalisation of the Western Australian Government’s consideration and agreement for the approved funds to be advanced.

Indigenous Engagement

BCI Minerals is working with the Wirrawandi Aboriginal Corporation and Robe River Kuruma Aboriginal Corporation to enable job and business opportunities targeting the local Traditional Owners and the wider Aboriginal community.

BCI Minerals will seek to achieve at least 5% Indigenous employment in the first year of construction, 7% Indigenous employment in the second year of construction, and 10% Indigenous employment in the third year of construction, and seeking to maintain a 10% level throughout operations.

An Aboriginal Procurement and Contracting Policy will be developed with the Wirrawandi Aboriginal Corporation and Robe River Kuruma Aboriginal Corporation in conjunction with designing smaller work packages to increase prospects for tendering by local Indigenous businesses, inclusion of non-price criteria in tendering processes and other measures.

BCI Minerals has been working with the local Traditional Owners for the past 8 years and continues to support and celebrate their culture. BCI is developing cultural heritage management plans to ensure ongoing protection of cultural sites and values; co-developing cultural protocols with the Traditional Owners; establishing an Indigenous staff network and hosting/participating in local Aboriginal events.

Note: Financial assistance to the project is subject to a number of conditions including the finalisation of the Western Australian Government’s consideration and agreement for the approved funds to be advanced.

Economic Impact and Public Benefit

An independent economic analysis has forecast significant benefits of approximately $2.7 billion to the northern Australian region over Mardie’s construction and operating life.

Mardie will have a peak construction workforce of at least 450 people and a permanent operating workforce of 200 people, and will also create additional indirect employment in the Pilbara region. BCI will also seek to maximise local and Indigenous employment and contracting opportunities.

BCI’s Managing Director Alwyn Vorster said “We are pleased to receive conditional NAIF Board approval for a large and long tenor loan. This loan is the largest NAIF allocation to a WA based company to date and recognises the potential long-term benefits which Mardie will bring to the region, including new port infrastructure available to third party users. Importantly, the loan also provides significant momentum for BCI to secure the remaining debt and equity funding components required for Mardie’s development.”