Kalium Lakes has significantly advanced its Beyondie sulphate of potash (SOP) project by gaining environmental approval from Western Australia’s Minister for Environment Stephen Dawson.
The news follows on from the project’s federal government approval, which was granted in January 2019, final mining lease approvals by the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) in February and Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in April.
The project also received a $74 million loan from the government-backed Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) in February and a 10-year offtake deal with German fertiliser company K+S in March, a move that established further confidence in the project.
The approval means that Beyondie is the first Australian SOP project to achieve both a recommendation from the EPA and an approval via ministerial statement, completing a four-year process towards state environmental approval on the project prior to commencing production in 2020.
“This approval delivers the certainty required for financial institutions to provide low cost and long tenor debt financing for a project which is expected to be in operation for the next 30 to 50 years,” said Kalium Lakes managing director Brett Hazelden.
“The Beyondie SOP project remains on schedule to commence Australia’s first commercial SOP production next year in 2020, with early works underway and long lead items progressively being ordered.”
The Beyondie project is a sub-surface brine deposit located around 160 kilometres south east of Newman that includes 15 exploration licences and two mining leases over a 2400-square kilometre area.
It is expected to be one of the world’s lowest cost potash producers, with estimated costs of $US179–$207 ($257–$297) a tonne over a 30-year-plus mine life.