Industry News

Construction begins on Sandy Ridge project after major approvals and finance secured

Tellus Holdings announced that contractors have mobilised to site and broken ground on the Stage 1 enabling works for its Sandy Ridge project, located within the Goldfields Region of WA, after receiving Australia government approvals and being now fully funded.

The Australian government’s approval, secured under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, signifies confidence that Tellus can proceed with Conditions of Consent for the country’s first dual near-surface kaolin clay mine and arid near-surface geological waste repository.

Tellus has reached financial close on a $102 million debt facility, with the first debt drawdown already having taken place. The project and working capital are now fully funded.

A Notice to Proceed has been recently issued for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to GR Engineering Services and the project management consultant Turner & Townsend to begin Stage 1 enabling works.

The Stage 1 enabling works includes engineering, design and long-lead procurement activities including the manufacturing of the cell air dome foundation blocks and the offsite civil works. The civil contractor has mobilised to site for the Great Eastern Highway, intersection, Mt Walton road and neighbouring airstrip upgrades under existing approvals.

Stage 2 construction works will consist of EPC, commissioning and performance testing of the Sandy Ridge facility’s site infrastructure. This includes mining of the first open-cut kaolin pit, container yards, site warehouses and offices, roads, a 71-room accommodation village and associated services and utilities.

The staged works under contract align with regulatory approvals. The facility commissioning and full operations are scheduled for March 2020, subject to approvals. The project development plan targets the acceptance of surface storage of waste materials scheduled to commence from early October 2019.

“Australia is one of the largest emitters of hazardous waste on a per capita basis. A massive legacy stockpile has built-up across WA and the country, as there is insufficient world’s best practice infrastructure at competitive price points,” said Duncan van der Merwe, Tellus managing director.

“The facility provides much needed sustainable infrastructure that can assist in cleaning up the country, support the circular economy, create jobs and generate business opportunities. Tellus is now taking firm orders for services.”