BCI Minerals On Track For Renewables TransitionBCI Minerals - Australian Mining Review

BCI Minerals Ltd (ASX:BCI) is seeing rapid growth and success with its 100% owned Mardie Salt and Potash Project on the West Pilbara coast in WA.

Designed to produce 5.35Mtpa of high-purity salt and 140ktpa of Sulphate of Potash (SOP), the project is a future Tier 1 solar evaporation project that will be a sustainable supplier of salt and potash for decades to come.

As a developer of renewable minerals for a modern world, BCI Minerals is currently still in its construction phase and will be the first major salt project developed in Australia in two decades, being the only Australian operation to product commercially saleable salt and SOP.

BCI Minerals Managing Director David Boshoff, who has more than 20 years of experience in the mining industry and has a strong background in delivering large capital projects, says the company has been focusing on robust progression.

BCI Minerals Managing Director David Boshoff.
BCI Minerals Managing Director David Boshoff.

“We have spent a lot of time on improving knowledge of the Mardie Project; the planning, the cost forecast, the schedule forecast,” he says.

“Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time with the projects team with a focus to reduce the risk and increase certainty. Those are very important for BCI Minerals in terms of funding, which is the main role I’ve been doing with the team in the last couple months.

“What makes the Mardie Project so exciting is the fact that it’s a completely renewable project; when you’re using sea water, you’re using solar wind to evaporate salt from it and then produce salt from the process, and 98-99% of our energy is completely renewable energy and from a renewable source.

“There is such a strong connection for BCI Minerals to the renewables transition. “Most people don’t know it, but our salt is not actually used for table salt; ours has a very high purity that suits extremely well to other industries which require salt as an input – for instance, in South East Asia in chemical production.

“But an incredibly exciting opportunity is in glass manufacturing, in solar panels. Solar panels require a lot of glass, and salt is a key ingredient to that; also different technologies are developing, and with the price of lithium having gone up recently, lots of people are developing alternative technologies.

We’re very enthusiastic about those options regarding salt in specific batteries, which is showing to be promising, and given our project is long term this will create opportunities for a demand.

“And of course, with a supply-demand deficit, we believe the price is going to follow.

“It’s completely different to what I’ve done in the past, and it’s great to be able to use the skills I’ve gained from the mining industry to apply it to projects such as this.”

BCI Minerals has had several mining leases approved recently, which are all in the process of extending the company’s footprint to complete the whole project.

Mr Boshoff says BCI Minerals has full approval for more than two-thirds of the footprint, but they are looking at taking it further.

“We’d like to extend the project to the north; that’s part of BCI Minerals’ optimised project; to be able to produce more salt than the original case – that’s underway at the moment,” he explains.

In terms of how quickly the Mardie Project is moving along, its ratio is quite different to other civil construction projects in that it’s rate of speed is determined by the evaporation of salt.

“Certainly not as intense in terms of capital deployment that way because we basically match the capital deployment with the salt crystallisation process,” Mr Boshoff reveals.

“So that’s good, but it’s a large project…we’re talking more than a billion dollars that we’re going to be spending on this, so it’s considerable; and employing a lot of people in the construction phase as well as creating a wide variety of opportunities for WA businesses.”

The general outlook for BCI Minerals for the remainder of 2023 is highly positive, with a capital raise currently underway that is seeing full support from investors and funding partners.

The company’s board has got a lot of depth and Mr Boshoff says each members’ wealth of knowledge and expertise will see BCI Minerals succeed in the Mardie Project.

“That was part of the attraction for me joining the team,” he says.

“I’m certainly getting a lot of guidance from the board who are very well connected to this industry, providing great opportunities for us to continue to successfully deliver our project.”