PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will invest A$74-million in Australia's first plant to produce sulphate of potash (SoP).
ASX-listed Kalium Lakes is developing the A$250-million Beyondie SoP project, which will produce 150 000 t/y SoP, with the option to incrementally phase the project through a ramp-up from 75 000 t/y to 150 000 t/y to minimise operational and financial risks.
The project is expected to create 130 jobs during construction, 45 jobs during operation and produce a crucial fertiliser to support Australia's farmers and strengthen food security.
“This NAIF investment will help unlock an Australia-first. For the first time Australia will have a domestic source of SoP, a crucial fertiliser that Australia has until now had to import,” Resources Minister Matt Canavan said.
“This project itself will directly create more than 150 jobs and it will help support many thousands more in our farming industry right across Australia. This project demonstrates how developing northern Australia benefits the whole of Australia.
“The project will also deliver significant benefits to the Gingirana and Birriliburu indigenous peoples of the region, including training, employment and milestone and royalty payments.”
Kalium Lakes MD Brett Hazelden said on Wednesday that the company was delighted to have support from the NAIF.
“This positive investment decision by NAIF, which has been incorporated into the front-end engineering and design report, is further confirmation that all the fundamentals of our Beyondie SoP project stack up and takes us one step closer to a final investment decision by Kalium.”
The NAIF funding will consist of a A$48-million infrastructure development facility and up to A$26-million for a project development facility.
Kalium Lakes said that the 15-year tenor and the concessional terms of the infrastructure development facility would allow the company to bring forward the construction of a A$29-million, 78-km lateral gas pipeline to connect the Goldfields Gas Pipeline and an on-site gas fuelled power station into Phase 1 of the project.
This would result in operating costs saving of between A$62/t and A$65/t.
The infrastructure development facility would also fund upgrades to the 78-km unsealed road connecting the project site to the Great Northern Highway, new communication infrastructure, an airstrip and accommodation village.