BCI mining lease granted for Australian salt operations

News Analysis




BCI mining lease granted for Australian salt operations

Governmental approvals boost Mardie project’s chances to commence in H1 2024.

BCI Minerals has been granted Mining leases for the Mardie Salt Project by the Department of Energy, Mining, Industry Regulation and Safety, which follows the granting of the EIA in October last year. This follows the State Environmental approval the company obtained in 2023 and these are two important steps to take the project forward. The Mardie Salt and Potash Project is owned by Mardie Minerals Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BCI Minerals Limited (BCI). The project involves a 5.35Mtpy industrial grade salt solar evaporation operation on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia (WA) and will also produce 140ktpy of potassium sulphate (SOP).

In another step, BCI also received approval for its Groundwater Monitoring and Management Plan (GMMP) from the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation on 3 April. One of the last pieces of the jigsaw is to secure final approvals is the Research Summary Offsets Plan (RSOP), on which BCI is working with the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW). Under the RSOP, BCI will provide approximately A$2.5M in total for regional-scale flora studies and an additional A$672,000 for research on threatened fauna along the Pilbara coastline. This new research will collect ecological data to inform strategic conservation initiatives and is additional to work already underway to deliver monitoring and management programmes for migratory birds, turtles and other important flora and fauna.

An approvals strategy has been agreed with DCCEEW, aiming to obtain all outstanding Commonwealth environmental approvals in H1 2024. With these in place, BCI aims to commence operations and filling evaporation ponds within the next couple of months in H1 2024. The target for first salt production is H2 2026.

The project already has off-take agreements in place for the salt with a terms sheet signed with Itochu (Japan), a binding agreement signed with a PT Chandra Asri Pacific Tbk subsidiary in Indonesia and is moving towards formal execution with Wanhua Chemical Group. Chandra Asri is proceeding with the construction of a new chlor-alkali plant in Java which will be supplied with BCI salt.