BCI soars toward environmental approval at Mardie project
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The stars are aligning for BCI with the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority giving the nod for its Mardie salt and potash project in the Pilbara.
In its recommendation to State Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson, the EPA said the project may be implemented as proposed with 19 conditions to be adhered to during construction and operation.
Notably, BCI Minerals (ASX:BCI) says the conditions – including minor modifications to the drainage design to improve management of surface water flow – are consistent with its designs, costings and implementation plans.
As such, the changes will not have a material impact on the design and economic assumptions supporting Mardie’s development.
The company will also contribute funds to the WA Government’s Pilbara Environmental Offset Fund and other research and management programs.
“This positive environmental assessment represents four years of collaboration with the EPA and evidences our systematic approach to approvals and our willingness to engage with stakeholders,” managing director Alwyn Vorster said.
“Mardie’s comprehensive environmental management plans will ensure the environmental values will be appropriately managed and protected.
“We are confident that the Mardie ERD with associated EPA conditions are aligned with environmental best practice and will meet the expectations of the WA Government.”
The Environment Minister will make a final decision following the required consultation period.
Mardie is a proposed multi-generational project that could generate annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of $260m over an initial 60-year mine life from the production of salt and potash.
Capex is estimated at $913m while operating costs are estimated to be about $21.50/t of salt and $337/t of potash versus a 60-year average price of US$40/t for salt and US$578/t for potash.
Additionally, BCI noted that the EPA’s recommendation is based on the definitive feasibility study from 1 July 2020.
As such the additional project areas located on newly acquire tenements outlined in the optimised feasibility study announced on 21 April 2021 will be subject to further environmental assessment and approvals over the next 12-15 months.
However, construction access to these additional areas is not required until late in 2022 while their smaller size and coverage of an area infested by Mesquite weed means that the assessment process is likely to be less complex.
This article was developed in collaboration with BCI Minerals, 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.