THE BOURSE WHISPERER: BCI Minerals (ASX: BCI) completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) Optimisation Study for the company’s Mardie salt & potash project, located on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia.
BCI Minerals said the PFS report supported the technical and financial viability of the Mardie project by delivering improved economics along with other changes that include an increase in salt production from 3.5 million tonnes per annum to 4 million tonnes per annum; Sulphate of Potash (SOP) production increasing from 75,000 tonnes per annum to 100,000 tonne per annum.
The company indicated that both salt and SOP would now be exported via a port at Mardie, eliminating all road haulage costs while the operating life of the project has increased from 30 years to 60 years.
Following completion of the PFS, BCI initiated a definitive feasibility study (DFS) and is currently progressing project designs, tenure, environmental approvals and early construction works for the project.
As part of initial DFS planning activities, BCI investigated a number of optimisation opportunities, most notably an increase of salt and SOP production along with the development of an export facility at the Mardie site.
The PFS Optimisation Study has incorporated these initiatives into the development case, proving that they will add value to, and further de-risk, the Mardie project.
“The recent approval by the Minister for Ports for an export facility at the Mardie project site and PFS flowsheet optimisation work resulting in higher production targets, support important amendments to our DFS scope,” BCI Minerals managing director Alwyn Vorster said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The PFS Optimisation Study has shown these amendments will deliver lower operating costs and improve the overall project economics.
“With salt, Mardie is expected to be cost competitive with existing large WA salt operations owned by major companies.
“Given SOP is a by-product of salt production and its location on the coast, Mardie should logically have a SOP on-ship cost of $50 to $100 per tonne lower than any other WA SOP projects that are located 800 to 1,000 kilometres from their preferred port.”