- BCI Minerals (BCI) is set to receive approval from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a $450 million loan
- Once certain conditions are satisfied, the 15-year loan will go towards developing the Mardie Salt and Potash Project in the Pilbara region of WA
- While the NAIF facility will make up a significant portion of the required funding, BCI is negotiating other debt facilities with commercial banks
- Following construction, Mardie will export 4.4 million tonnes per annum of high-purity salt and 120,00 tonnes per annum of sulphate of potash
- BCI is up 8.93 per cent and shares are trading at 30.5 cents
BCI Minerals (BCI) has is set to receive approval from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a $450 million loan facility.
The 15-year loan will go towards construction and ramp-up of the Mardie Salt and Potash Project, as well as associated financing fees and costs.
"We are pleased to receive conditional NAIF Board approval for a A$450 million long tenor loan," Managing Director Alwyn Vorster said.
The NAIF and BCI Minerals have engaged in discussions for around 18 months. During this period, due diligence was undertaken and a definitive feasibility study for the project was completed.
"This loan will be the largest NAIF allocation to a WA-based company to date and recognises the potential long-term benefits which Mardie will bring to the region, including new port infrastructure available to third party users," Alwyn added.
The loan will be received by BCI's subsidiary and the owner of the Mardie project, Mardie Minerals.
Before the NAIF loan is officially approved, BCI will need to show meaningful progress with the Mardie Project by March 31, 2021 (or a later date if agreed), and both parties will need to enter facility documents.
Additionally, other debt and equity funding arrangements will need to be completed, approvals and permits will need to be secured to construct and operate the project and binding offtake contracts will need to be entered into.
While the NAIF facility will account for a significant portion of the funding required to develop the project, other debt facilities are being negotiated with commercial banks.
"We are delighted to be able to support the development of the Mardie Salt & Potash Project which by supplying agricultural and chemical industries across Asia offers exciting export opportunities," CEO Chris Wade said.
Mardie is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It aims to export 4.4 million tonnes per annum of high-purity salt and 120,00 tonnes per annum of sulphate of potash through solar evaporation of a seawater resource and a production process driven mainly by natural solar and wind energy.
Around 500 people will be employed for the construction process and the project will have a permanent operating workforce of roughly 200 people. BCI is also aiming to maximise local and Indigenous employment and contracting opportunities.
The parties will now work towards completing documentation and satisfying funding conditions.
BCI is up 8.93 per cent and shares are trading at 30.5 cents at 12:57 pm AEDT.