BCI Minerals has appointed GR Engineering as lead engineer on the Mardie salt and potash project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS).
The specific contract value has not been disclosed, but in a statement BCI said it planned to spend about $25 million before a final investment decision in the first quarter of 2020.
GR Engineering will design packages for the Pilbara site’s salt plant, sulphate of potash plant, port facilities, ponds and crystallisers.
The company will also provide operating cost estimates and undertake the design of site works such as a 135-hectare trial pond, accommodation camp, power generation, and access road upgrades.
The contract is expected to conclude by the end of June 2019.
In a statement, BCI said the $25 million will be funded from its $36.6 million in cash reserves and the additional funds it receives via ongoing quarterly royalties from Iron Valley.
In June, the company released a pre-feasibility study for its Mardie project, with a total capital expenditure of $335 million needed to reach full production.
BCI is currently in the process of divesting its Pilbara iron ore assets, including Iron Valley, in order to focus on salt and potash production.
BCI managing director Alwyn Vorster said the company was focused on delivering a high-quality DFS that would place the company in a strong position to reach a final investment decision by the first quarter of 2020.
“GR Engineering’s technical ability and project management strengths will make them a valuable partner to BCI as Mardie is progressed towards full project construction,” he said.
GR Engineering managing director Geoff Jones said the Mardie project was a unique development opportunity for BCI.
“We look forward to working closely with BCI to deliver high quality results in alignment with the planned schedule and cost,” he said.
BCI completed a pre-feasibility on Mardie last year, and is seeking to secure environmental approvals for the project by the end of this year.
The company, which completed a pre-feasibility study last year, expects the DFS to increase annual forecast production capacity to 4 million tonnes of salt and 100,000 tonnes of SOP.
Shares in BCI were up 6.67 per cent to trade at 16 cents each at 1pm AEDT.
Shares in GR Engineering were down 0.93 per cent to trade at $1.07 each at 3pm AEDT.