BCI Minerals Limited (ASX:BCI) ("BCI") is an Australian-based company that is developing a salt and potash business supported by iron ore royalty earnings and divestment proceeds.
BCI is focused on rapidly advancing its 100% owned Mardie Salt & Potash Project, a potential Tier 1 project located on the West Pilbara coast in the center of Australia's key salt production region.
Mardie will produce high-purity salt and sulphate of potash (“SOP”) via solar evaporation of seawater. Using an inexhaustible resource and a production process powered mainly by natural solar and wind energy, Mardie is an exciting opportunity to supply the salt and potash growth markets in Asia sustainably over many decades.
The long-term outlooks for both salt and SOP are positive. Salt, or NaCl, is an essential mineral used extensively in modern life. High purity salt, which will be produced at Mardie, is used in chemical and industrial processes that create thousands of everyday products. Demand in this market segment, particularly in Asia, is expected to grow strongly over the next decade and result in a supply deficit.
Increasing population and urbanisation requires more and better-quality food to be produced from less arable land. SOP is a premium fertiliser which provides two key nutrients – potassium and sulphur – to improve crop yields and drought resistance. SOP is mostly used on high value crops where yield increases deliver larger financial benefits.
Following a positive Pre-Feasibility Study in 2018, a Definitive Feasibility Study on a 4Mtpa salt and 100ktpa SOP operation is underway and due to be completed by late 2019. Key approvals are expected to be in place by early 2020 and a Final Investment Decision is targeted by Q1 2020.
BCI receives quarterly royalty earnings from Iron Valley, an iron ore mine located in the Central Pilbara region of Western Australia which is operated by Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN) (95Mt JORC Ore Reserve1). BCI’s EBITDA from Iron Valley was ~$18M in FY17 and ~$6M in FY18.
A process is underway for the divestment of BCI’s iron ore and exploration portfolio. The first transaction completed in December 2018, with the sale of the Kumina iron ore tenements to MIN for total consideration of A$35M cash, of which $8M is still to be received after operations commence.