PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has approved a A$140-million loan for the Lake Wells sulphate of potash (SoP) project being developed by ASX-listed Australian Potash.
The loan facility will have a 17-year tenor, and will be subject to commercial and project conditions precedent.
“We are very pleased to advise the first major step in financing the development of Lake Wells, with the board of NAIF resolving to support this regionally important project that returns strong social and economic benefits,” said Australian Potash MD and CEO Matt Shackleton.
“Approximately 30% by value of the construction engineering, procurement and construction contracts will be awarded to companies in Northern Australia, and 20% by value to Indigenous companies and joint ventures.”
The award of the NAIF loan followed shortly after the grant of full environmental approval for the A$208-million Lake Wells SoP project, which could deliver 150 000 t/y of SoP, based on the maiden reserve of 3.6-million tonnes, and would have a mine life of 30 years.
“We now turn our attention to closing out the balance of the development financing pathway and to moving into the pre-mobilisation phase for the development of the Lake Wells SoP project,” said Shackleton.
“Lake Wells is a substantially de-risked, technically sound, low cost and socially responsible project that will deliver a premium product for at least 30 years. We now look forward to delivering the results of the front-end engineering design study and announcing a final investment decision.”
The NAIF in early February also agreed to a A$450-million loan to ASX-listed BCI Minerals for its Mardie salt and potash project in Western Australia.
The A$498-million Mardie salt and potash project is expected to produce more than four-million tonnes of high purity salt and 100 000 t/y of SoP fertilizer.