MELBOURNE, Sept 30 (Reuters) – The Australian government has agreed to provide a low-cost A$220 million ($143 million) loan to private company Perdaman to build a 4-storey urea plant. 5 billion Australian dollars in Western Australia, said the country’s resources minister. Friday.

Perdaman plans to build a 2 million tonnes per year urea plant, aiming to export about half of the production to the Asia-Pacific region, Brazil and the United States, while the rest will help reduce dependency of Australia vis-à-vis fertilizer imports, the government says.

The government loan will come from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and will be in addition to A$255 million in two previous loans supporting infrastructure to service the urea project.

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“This project will be transformational for Western Australia… and will ensure local farmers have access to fertilizers which are essential to ensure food security,” said Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King. , in a press release announcing the loan.

Perdaman has signed a contract to buy gas from Woodside Energy Group’s Scarborough project (WDS.AX) as feedstock for urea production.

The project is being built on the Burrup Peninsula, where an indigenous group has expressed concern about the impact emissions from the factory could have on ancient indigenous rock art.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek in August rejected a request by two indigenous women to stop Perdaman from starting construction of the urea plant, but earlier this month she launched a review of the impact of industry on the ancient rock art of the Burrup Peninsula.

This examination must lead to recommendations on the advisability of ordering a new protection of the native heritage of the peninsula. There is no deadline for this exam.

King said Friday the Perdaman project was designed using the “best available technology to minimize emissions,” including the use of solar power.

($1 = 1.5399 Australian dollars)

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Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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