The completion of the northern embankment trial pond and the commencement of the southern pond means that BCI Minerals will be ready when the final approvals for Mardie are obtained.

BCI Minerals (ASX:BCI) has nearly completed the construction of the northern embankment trial pond of its Mardie Salt & Potash project in WA, with only the outer-wall geofabric and rock-armour treatment remaining.

With that, the company has now commenced construction of the southern trial pond, with a contract already being awarded to build the main seawater pump structure.

These investigative works are the precursor to the main construction, and will provide confidence on materials availability, pumping rates and other key assumptions ahead of its final investment decision (FID) on the project expected later this year.

The FID is currently subject to several regulatory and access approvals.

Work on the southern embankment

The northern embankment trial pond has proven feasibility of construction methodologies, and has demonstrated that budgeted productivity is achievable.

The southern embankment pond will adopt the same construction methodology, materials and equipment learnings from the northern embankment trial.

At the southern trial pond, seawalls will be constructed on three sides with an internal levee separating the trial pond (future Pond 0) from future Pond 1 as depicted below.


Geofabric will span the 20m width of the embankment bases to provide stability for the three-metre-high clay layer walls, which will be protected from the ocean currents by rock armour.

Construction of the civil work will form part of the broader earthworks contract, which was awarded back in March to WBHO Infrastructure – a contractor with a long history of project delivery in large civil construction projects.

Meanwhile, the main seawater pump structure contract was awarded to WA-based Ertech’s Geomarine, which specialises in designing and constructing near-shore marine infrastructure projects. Ertech has a 40-year track record in safely delivering these projects.

The $16m contract awarded to Ertech will be fully funded from BCI’s existing cash balance of $110m at 31 July.

When the project is fully operational, the primary seawater pump station will pump around 160GL of water into the evaporation ponds each year, equivalent to approximately 70,000 Olympic swimming pools.

To support these investigative early works, expansion of the 80-bed exploration camp is also currently underway.

The first units have been delivered on site, with contractor McNally Mining and Resources already excavating for utilities and building foundations.

The central facilities and the additional 120 rooms are scheduled to be completed in Q4 this year, and will bring total rooms to 200.

Following final regulatory approvals and FID decision, the village will be further expanded to 400 beds to accommodate peak workforce during the main construction expected in early 2022.

In December 2020, funding for the Mardie project got a boost with the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility approving a 15-year $450 million loan.

The Mardie project aims to produce 5.35Mtpa of high-purity salt (>99.5% NaCl) and 140ktpa of sulphate of potash (SOP) (>52% K2O) via solar evaporation of seawater.

BCI believes the project is a sustainable opportunity to supply the salt and potash growth markets in Asia over many decades.




This article was developed in collaboration with BCI Mineral, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.