Sunday 5th Jul, 2020

First Australian sulphate of potash production project funded

Industrial machinery manufacturer Metso has made new appointments to its executive team, including a new President for its Minerals Services business area.

Australia will have a domestic source of sulphate of potash, a crucial fertiliser that had to be imported, thanks to a $74 million investment from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

The $250 million Beyondie Sulphate of Potash Project will create 130 jobs during construction, 45 jobs during operation and produce fertiliser to support the Australian agricultural industry.

Sulphate of potash is a type of potassium, one of the three macronutrients essential to plant growth, and is more highly valued than the alternative potassium chloride, as potash has lower chloride levels making it more effective on crops such as citrus, fruits, almonds and strawberries.

The NAIF load will be provided to Kalium Lakes Ltd to develop the project, which will produce 90 kilotonnes of sulphate per annum at a facility 160 kilometres south east of Newman in Western Australia.

Minister for resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the investment will unlock an Australian-first project and support thousands of jobs within the farming industry around Australia.

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“The project will also deliver significant benefits to the Gingirana and Birriliburu indigenous peoples of the region, including training, employment and milestone and royalty payments,” he said.

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. Over 75 kilometres of roads will be sealed and that will benefit Western Australian graziers and local indigenous communities too,” Price said.

The investment brings the total amount of NAIF investments to around $1.3 billion across 10 separate projects.