We have supported BCI Minerals Limited in its development of the Mardie Salt and Potash Project, a sustainable opportunity to develop a large-scale, multi-generational solar evaporation operation on the Pilbara coast of Western Australia (WA).
The primary project components include:
- Nine large evaporation ponds
- Salt crystallisers and salt wash plant
- KTMS crystallisers and Sulphate of Potash (SOP) plant
- Port facilities
- Supporting infrastructure
BG&E Resources has undertaken a range of engagements to date:
- Crystalliser Pond Optioneering
- Geotechnical Support and Port Marine Design Works
- Detailed Design of the Brine Pump Station Transfer Structures
The Mardie site has advantageous characteristics for establishing a large-scale solar evaporation operation including optimum climate conditions, a large area of impermeable mudflats as an ideal floor for evaporation ponds, minimal environmental and heritage sensitivities, and a coastal location for cost-effective shipping to Asian markets.
The production concept involves a time-proven a process. Seawater is pumped from the ocean into the first evaporation pond and progressively concentrated via natural sun and wind evaporation energy through a series of nine evaporation ponds over an eighteen-month period. Upon reaching NaCl saturation point in Pond 9, concentrated brine is transferred to the salt crystallisers where salt precipitates in solid form. The remaining brine liquid (bitterns) is drained from the salt crystallisers and raw salt is then harvested and purified in a two-stage counter-current wash plant to produce 5.35Mtpa salt with >99.5% NaCl content.
BCI Minerals is progressing with the development with major construction commenced in February 2022. First salt production is scheduled for mid-2026 with first SOP production by mid-2027.
Geotechnical Support and Port Marine Design Works
Our Ports & Marine team has been involved in the design of the dedicated new trans-shipment port marine facility, undertaking reviews and providing geotechnical support.
The facility has been designed to produce and export approximately 5.35MTPA of salt with the facility comprising of seawater intake pump stations, seawater salt evaporation ponds and salt crystallisers, salt wash plant and stockyards, SOP crystallisers and SOP plant.
Detailed Design of the Brine Pump Station Transfer Structures
We have undertaken the detailed engineering design of the brine pump station transfer structures. This will allow brine to be pumped from the pumps over the gas pipeline.
Pump station installation has commenced with brine production scheduled for 2024.
Crystalliser Pond Optioneering
The project comprises development of approximately 94km2 of low-lying coastal land and intertidal zones to produce high purity industrial SOP from pumped seawater.
BGER has developed the optioneering for the development of a series of nine ponds which will move the progressively enriched brine to the north towards the Crystalliser Ponds. These are proposed to be located east of Ponds 6 to 9, elevated off the intertidal flats.
The aim of this scope is to provide an independent assessment of the previously completed reference design for the proposed Crystalliser Ponds. Following the review, our optioneering process aims to develop an optimised design and will explore additional options to provide value to the project by reducing total capital costs and improve operability. In turn, this will enable BCI Minerals to reduce cut to fill volumes.