The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has approved a A$450m ($340m) financing to BCI Minerals for its Mardie salt and potash project in Western Australia.

Being developed about 80km from Karratha in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the project is a high-grade salt and sulphate of potash (SOP) project.

It is estimated to produce nearly four million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of high purity salt and 100,000 tonnes of Sulphate of Potash fertiliser a year from seawater through its operational life of 60 years.

NAIF said that the project was given ‘Major Project Status’ by the Australian Government in August this year.

The funding will be utilised for the development of ponds, two processing facilities, port as well as other supporting infrastructure at the project.

Upon completion, the Mardie project is expected to be the first major salt operation in Australia in two decades and will be the only Australian project to produce both salt and SOP in commercial quantities.

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In addition, the grant for the project follows detailed technical, approvals, financial and market due diligence by NAIF and endorsed independent experts over an extended period.

NAIF CEO Chris Wade said: “The proposed facilities would provide the opportunity to expand Australia’s chemical and agriculture industries, deliver economic impact to the region of $2 billion and create at least 450 jobs during construction and 200 operational jobs over a 60-year operating life.

“We are delighted to be able to support the development of the Mardie Salt & Potash Project which by supplying agricultural and chemical industries across Asia offers exciting export opportunities. Locally, the project will also bring significant economic benefits to the Karratha, Dampier and Onslow areas.”

Furthermore, the loan amount approval is subject to satisfying various conditions and completion of facility documentation.

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NAIF approves A$450m for the Mardie salt and potash project in Western Australia. (Credit: NAIF.)