The Tanami connection

A 346km haul road proposed by Agrimin to connect the remote Mackay potash project to the existing Tanami Road will benefit local communities in Western Australia’s central desert and Kimberley regions, the company claims.

 Tjamu Tjamu country

Tjamu Tjamu country

Its Mackay project south of Wyndham, which is being assessed by WA's Environmental Protection Authority, is touted to become one of the world's biggest sulphate of potash operations.

A 2021 definitive feasibility study outlined a post-tax net profit value of $914 million and an internal rate of return of 21%, based on total cash costs of $222 a tonne.

At Mackay, contractor Primero is doing front-end engineering design work for the process plant and associated infrastructure, while Coffey Services Australia is also on site for FEED work on road construction methods and detailed engineering design.

Product will be carried by road trains along the haul road to Tanami Road, then along the Great Northern Highway to a purpose-built storage facility at Wyndham Port, before being loaded onto barges for shipping to offtake partner Sinochem Fertiliser Macao. The total route is 940km.

Agrimin has an offtake agreement with the Chinese company for 150,000 tonnes of SoP per annum, over a 10-year period.

The haul road will pass through three Native Title determination areas including Tjamu Tjamu, Parna Ngururrpa and Tjurabalan.

Heritage surveys have been done on all three areas and Agrimin has a Native Title agreement in place at Tjamu Tjamu.

Native Title negotiations are continuing with the Parna Ngururrpa and Tjurabalan people, with a positive outcome paving the way for approval of three miscellaneous licences to start haul road development.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange Agrimin CEO Mark Savich said Mackay stood out globally as a low-cost SoP operation that would be supported by fully integrated mine-to-ship logistics.

"The geotechnical field work associated the project's haul road was a significant undertaking for our team during 2021 [and] the successful completion of this work has allowed the final alignment to be selected and the necessary licence applications to be submitted," he said.

Savich said Agrimin would finalise permitting and detailed engineering design for the haul road in the first half of 2022.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining Monthly Intelligence team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the mining sector, brought to you by the Mining Monthly Intelligence team.


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