Broome Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Jakeb Wad­dell and Nick Evans

A ma­jor new min­eral sands mine in the Kim­ber­ley edges closer after the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment de­clared $95 mil­lion of fund­ing.

The Broome busi­ness com­mu­nity has wel­comed a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment boost of a $95 mil­lion for a new Kim­ber­ley min­eral sands mine.

Last Wed­nes­day, Fed­eral Re­sources Min­is­ter Matt Cana­van an­nounced a debt deal for Sh­effield Re­source’s Thunder project, the North­ern Aus­tralia In­fra­struc­ture Fund’s big­gest in­vest­ment in WA so far.

Mr Cana­van said Thun­der­bird had won fund­ing on its prom­ise to cre­ate “in­ter­gen­er­a­tional” job op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Kim­ber­ley, given the mine has an es­ti­mated 40-year life.

The project, about 60km west of Derby, is likely to cre­ate more than 400 jobs in con­struc­tion, and Sh­effield said it would need a per­ma­nent work­force of about 280 peo­ple.

The com­pany is still to fi­nalise a full fund­ing deal for the es­ti­mated $260 mil­lion cost of build­ing the first stage of the min­eral sands mine, but the NAIF pack­age will bring the long­planned project sig­nif­i­cantly closer to fruition.

The $95 mil­lion loan from NAIF will help Sh­effield fund an ac­com­mo­da­tion camp at Thun­der­bird, along with a nat­u­ral gas power plant and in­fra­struc­ture up­grades at the Derby port, which the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment hopes will en­cour­age fur­ther eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the re­gion.

Broome Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try pres­i­dent Peter Tay­lor said the loan pack­age was a ma­jor step for­ward for the project.

“This will un­der­pin con­fi­dence in the project’s abil­ity to raise the ad­di­tional eq­uity and fund­ing re­quired for a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion,” he said.

“This helps lay the foun­da­tions for a broad-based in­crease in eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity across the West Kim­ber­ley.

“Broome is turn­ing the cor­ner and is very much open for busi­ness again.”

Sh­effield Re­sources man­ag­ing direc­tor Bruce McFadzean said he was ex­tremely pleased with the level of sup­port shown by the NAIF and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

“NAIF sup­port pro­vides for Sh­effield to own cer­tain as­sets like the on­site power gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­ity, and for lower op­er­at­ing costs when com­pared to the Thun­der­bird BFS,” he said.

“NAIF is strong on lo­cal com­mu­nity ben­e­fits, jobs and growth and so are we.

“The role of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in back­ing Thun­der­bird and Sh­effield is also very mean­ing­ful to over­seas cus­tomers and to in­vestors.”

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Melissa Price — the lo­cal Fed­eral mem­ber — said Sh­effield’s long-term com­mit­ment, and par­tic­u­larly its pub­lic com­mit­ment to have up to 40 per cent Abo­rig­i­nal em­ploy­ment within its first eight years of op­er­a­tion, would be a ma­jor boost for the Kim­ber­ley.

“All that work and the on­go­ing min­ing op­er­a­tion will in­ject a mas­sive num­ber of jobs into the re­gion and we’ll see even more po­si­tions sup­ported when lo­cal busi­nesses tap into pro­vid­ing ser­vices to the mine,” she said.

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