Phosphate-driven boom for Red Centre

Verdant Minerals is working with ICN’s Central Australian team to engage with local NT-based and regional contractors and businesses that may have the capabilities needed to help construct and operate the mooted Ammaroo Phosphate mine.

Although in its initial stages, with Bankable Feasibility Studies, Environmental Impact Statements and Native Title Agreements still to be finalised, Verdant has recognised the important of early engagement to a project of this size.

The $300 million Ammaroo Phosphate Project is located 200km southeast of Tennant Creek. The project area includes the billion tonne, 40-km long Ammaroo Phosphate Joint Ore Reserve Committee Resource. 

The initial development is a phosphate rock concentrate operation, which is expected to produce up to 2 million tonnes of concentrate product per year for export to Asian phosphoric acid producers.

‘This development could represent the first step in developing over time, a long-term fertiliser production industry here in Central Australia. One of the few parts of the world where all the ingredients exist close to each other and markets, including the Australian market,’ ICN Central Australian Manager Jay Walker said, adding that the NT already had a backbone of rail, port and gas infrastructure to support the project.

‘At this stage, Verdant Minerals is interested in expressions of interest from local and regional companies and work packages are not likely to be listed until late 2017. ICN will be working with them to help identify local capabilities, so it is important to have a Gateway listing and ensure it is up to date.’

Verdant Minerals hopes to make an investment decision by mid-2018 for an 18-month construction project, before commencing production in late 2019 or early 2020.

The operation will combine an open cut mine, a floatation beneficiation plant, associated mine site infrastructure, power generation, bore field and water pipeline, accommodation village and a 90km rail spur and 120 km low pressure gas pipeline from the main Amadeus pipeline.

In an ASX press release, Verdant Minerals said the Ammaroo Phosphate Project was a global-scale, long-life resource, positioned in proximity to existing transport and gas infrastructure and located in a stable OECD country.

‘Currently the majority of the world’s seaborne traded phosphate originates from the Middle East and Northern Africa where the long-term security of supply remains uncertain under a number of realistic scenarios. Australia imports approximately 80% of its phosphate requirements from countries such as Morocco, China, Saudi Arabia and the USA,’ the release said.

More information on the Ammaroo Phosphate Project can be found on ICN Gateway.