Premier Mark McGowan and BCI Minerals team at the construction launch.
Premier Mark McGowan and BCI Minerals team at the construction launch. Source: BCI Minerals
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  • BCI Minerals (BCI) has marked official commencement of construction at the Mardie salt project in Karratha
  • The company has been working for years to start the project with the aim of being Australia’s largest solar salt project
  • SRG Global (SRG) will continue with the Mardie construction contract
  • Resource prices have risen significantly since the project’s feasibility studies last year
  • An updated estimate of total cost is expected to be released before June 30, 2022
  • BCI Minerals shares were 47.5 cents in early trade

BCI Minerals (BCI) has celebrated official commencement of construction at the Mardie salt project near Karratha, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan joined members of the BCI board, leadership team and local stakeholders to officially mark the construction milestone on 25 March 2022.

BCI’s Non-Executive Chairman, Brian O’Donnell, said: “After many years of project de-risking, studies and approvals, construction commencement is an exciting milestone on the path of creating Australia’s largest solar salt project that will rank third in scale globally.”

BCI has confirmed that SRG Global (SRG) will continue with the Mardie construction contract for walls and levees for salt ponds. The contractor for the seawater intake facility is Ertech Geomarine.

BCI is anticipating the current inflationary pressures on construction inputs such as fuel, labour, transport and equipment will lead to increased capital cost for the project. At the same time, it notes the increases in salt and sulphate of potash (SOP) prices since the project’s feasibility studies completed last year.

Since that time, the average contract price of Australian salt imported into Asia has increased by more than 20 per cent with even higher spot prices being realised in China. The SOP price has also increased by more than 70 per cent.

“It is our expectation that even with these increasing cost pressures, the Mardie project financial returns over multiple decades will remain attractive,” BCI’s Managing Director, Alwyn Vorster said.

An updated estimate of total project capital cost and projected financial returns is expected to be released before June 30.

BCI Minerals shares were 47.5 cents in early trade.

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