PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government has awarded ASX-listed BCI Minerals Major Project status for its Mardie salt and potash project, in Western Australia.
Major Project status provides companies with extra support from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, including a single entry point for Commonwealth government approvals, project support and coordination, and help with state and territory approvals.
The A$498-million Mardie project is expected to produce more than four-million tonnes a year of high purity salt and 100 000 t/y of potash fertiliser a year.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the facilities would help secure domestic supply chains, while also creating export opportunities.
“The government is pleased to support this project which has the potential to expand Australia’s vital chemical and agriculture industries. Not only will the development create about 450 jobs during construction and 200 jobs over its operating life, it will also support critical supply chains and deliver exciting export opportunities.
“Potash, for example, is essential for many of our farmers but currently it has to be imported, making our agriculture sector susceptible to supply chain disruptions like we’ve experienced with Covid-19.”
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the Karratha, Dampier and Onslow communities would reap significant economic benefits.
“Projects such as this are important to the economic health of regional communities in the north and complement the Australian government’s efforts to develop northern Australia,” he said.
“The project will supply agricultural and chemical industries across Asia, bringing valuable export income.”
BCI’s MD Alwyn Vorster said he is pleased Mardie has been recognised by the Australian government with Major Project status.
“The development of Mardie will deliver substantial long-term public benefits over a potential operating life of 100 years in the form of significant employment and contracting opportunities, and billions of dollars of royalties and taxes. This support from the federal government will make a meaningful contribution towards Mardie becoming the first large-scale salt project to be developed in Australia in more than 20 years,” Vorster said.
A new transshipment port within the Pilbara Ports Authority-controlled Cape Preston West Port area, adjacent to the Mardie project, will enable exports from the facility.
The port will also be available to others, potentially unlocking further deposits of iron-ore and other minerals in the region.