Mardie a 100‐year sustainable opportunity: BCI Minerals

BCI Minerals managing director Alwyn Vorster and WA Premier Mark McGowan.

BCI Minerals’ Mardie Salt and Potash project will provide jobs for approximately 500 workers during construction of the world‐scale project south of Karratha in Western Australia.

Mardie will produce over five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of salt and is slated to be the first salt operation in Australia producing high-value sulphate of potash (SOP) fertiliser as a by‐product.

The project will have an operational workforce of 200 and will comprise nine evaporation ponds, salt and SOP crystallisers plus salt washing and SOP process plants. Product will be shipped onto capsize vessels from a 2.4km jetty with a conveyor system.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan joined BCI Minerals’ Board, leadership team and stakeholders at the Pilbara project site recently as construction of the site was officially launched.

According to the company, Mardie is forecast to contribute approximately $4 billion of Gross Regional Product to northern Australia over a minimum 60‐year operating life.

BCI Minerals managing director Alwyn Vorster said after many years of project derisking, studies and approvals, construction commencement is an exciting milestone on the path of creating Australia’s largest solar salt project that will rank third in scale globally.

“Over the last year, BCI already invested more than $50 million in early works including expanding the village to 200 beds, creating trial ponds and commencing work on the seawater intake infrastructure,” Vorster said.

“Now we are building momentum with full steam construction and it is exciting to see key long lead items such as the seawater pumps arriving at site ready for installation.

“Mardie is a fully integrated operation from seawater intake to ship loader and we will not have to rely on third party infrastructure.”

Vorster said that unlike most resource projects, Mardie will not need ongoing exploration to extend project life.

“The key feedstock is inexhaustible seawater and we have access to an abundant supply of good quality seawater from the Indian Ocean,” he said.

“That, plus the fact that 99 per cent of the required project energy comes from natural sun and wind for evaporation, make Mardie a 100‐year sustainable opportunity.”

Mardie aims to start salt harvesting and processing in 2024, with SOP harvesting and processing to follow in 2025.

Mardie has received Federal Government loan facilities of $600M through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) and Export Finance Australia (EFA).

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.