NAIF Backs Australia’s First Fertilizer Project

With large-scale evaporation ponds, Kalium Lakes expects to be a low-cost SOP producer.
The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will invest $74 million in Australia’s first plant to produce sulphate of potash (SOP). The NAIF loan will be provided to Kalium Lakes Ltd. to help develop its $250 million Beyondie SOP project. The project will produce 90,000 metric tons per year (mt/y) of SOP at a facility 160 kilometers (km) southeast of Newman in Western Australia.

“For the first time, Australia will have a domestic source of SOP, a crucial fertilizer that Australia has until now had to import,” said Sen. Matthew Canavan, minister for resources and Northern Australia. “This project itself will directly create more than 150 jobs, but it will help support many thousands more in our farming industry right across Australia.” Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said the project involved developing the Beyondie, 10 Mile and Sunshine Lake sub-surface brine deposits and included construction of evaporation ponds and a processing facility.

“The NAIF will invest in a new gas pipeline, a new power plant and road upgrades that will provide wider benefits to the Pilbara,” Price said. “Over 75 km of roads will be sealed and that will benefit Western Australian graziers and local indigenous communities, too.” “The NAIF program has provided solid support for a number of big-ticket projects in my electorate, including the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project and upgrading and expanding the marine support facilities at Onslow.”

This investment brings the total amount of NAIF investments to almost $1.3 billion for 10 separate projects. Around $296 million in NAIF funding has gone toward supporting projects in Western Australia, which will help create more than 370 jobs across five projects. Altogether NAIF investments have helped unlock $2.8 billion of total investments across Northern Australia. Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said Australian resources exports in 2018 set a new record of $248 billion.

“Higher prices and export volumes produced a record $66 billion in exports of coal, and made it Australia’s most valuable single export,” Minister Canavan said. “This highlights the continuing role of coal in providing jobs and income for communities throughout Australia, and in underpinning our strong national economic performance.” Canavan said there is a potential for expanded earning as output from existing coal basins is increased and the Galilee Basin is brought into production.

The value of 2018 coal exports was up 16% on the previous year’s $57 billion and across the board resources exports were up 20% on the previous year’s $206 billion. “Resources contributed 72% of Australia’s export of goods in the year and more than half of the nation’s total exports of goods and services,” Canavan said.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 03 -