The 100% owned Mardie Project, which is located on the northwest coast of Western Australia in one of the world’s premium locations for solar evaporation operations, aims to produce salt and sulphate of potash (“SOP”) from seawater.
The salt and SOP markets both have a positive long-term outlook. Strong Asian demand growth for salt, driven by demand from the growing industrial and chemical industry, is forecast to result in a supply gap emerging over the next decade. SOP’s positive outlook is linked to an increasing Asian population driving food demand, lifestyle changes requiring high quality food, and the requirement for environmentally friendly fertilisers delivering high crop yields.
Following completion of a positive Pre-Feasibility Study (“PFS”) during the June 2018 quarter, BCI commenced the Mardie Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”). As well as improving design accuracy and further de-risking the project, BCI is aiming for the DFS to improve on the PFS development plan and business case in a number of key areas, including:
- Increasing the production capacity to 4Mtpa salt and 100ktpa SOP;
- Establishing the tenure, approvals and designs for a fit-for-purpose export facility at the Mardie site, which will eliminate haulage costs to the Cape Preston East Port site; and
- Establishing test ponds and completing construction of project support infrastructure to bring forward the target date for first salt and SOP production.
BCI also continues to progress the approvals process and is working towards a target of securing primary environmental approvals by the end of 2019. Base line environmental studies are ongoing and consultation is continuing with the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in relation to the approvals process.