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BCI received credit approvals for A$981m debt funding

Image shows potash ore

Photo by Bloomberg

9th October 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Potash developer BCI Minerals has received credit approvals for a total project finance debt of A$981-million for its Mardie salt project, in Western Australia.

The ASX-listed company told shareholders that Export Development Canada (EDC) had approved a A$150-million project finance facility, pending contractual close and the satisfaction of all conditions precedent, with a seven-year tenor.

Two leading commercial banks have also increased their credit approvals to a combined A$181-million in project finance facilities. This was in addition to the A$490-million, 15-year facility from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) and the A$160-million, 11-year facility from Export Finance Australia (EFA).

These facilities will fund all components of the Mardie project other than the sulphate of potash (SoP) plant.

BCI earlier told shareholders that debt funding for the SoP plant is proposed to be progressed during 2024 following the completion of further design and cost development.

The project finance facilities are fully underpinned by forecast salt revenues only.

“This completion of the project finance package is an important project milestone, with the support shown by key lenders indicating strong confidence in BCI’s Mardie project, said MD David Boshoff on Monday.

“The participation of EDC, alongside NAIF, EFA, and the two commercial banks, provides BCI with a strong, diversified lender group who are willing to support the project in the long term.”

All facilities remain conditional on formal documentation, securing required tenure and approvals for the optimised feasibility study area, equity funding, offtake arrangements, and satisfying other customary conditions associated with the loans. BCI is targeting completion of formal debt documentation in the first half of 2024 and the first drawdown of debt in the second half of 2024, subject to satisfying all relevant conditions precedent.

BCI earlier this year flagged a A$500-million cost blow-out at Mardie, while also warning of delays to first production.

The project is now estimated to cost A$1.62-billion, while first salt production is anticipated mid-2026 and SoP in mid-2027, instead of the initial target of the first quarter of 2024 and the first quarter of 2026 respectively.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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