THE Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is to provide a $160-million loan to the Pilbara Ports Authority for a new multi-user wharf and facilities at the Port of Dampier. It is part of a $255-million investment into the Perdman Urea Project.

The $4.3-billion project will be located 20 kilometres north-west of Karratha. It will convert Western Australian LNG into about 2 million tonnes of urea per year.

Urea is an important feedstock for fertiliser production. It is also used as an additive to diesel fuel to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, for this purpose it is sold under the brand name AdBlue.

The other $95 million in NAIF funding is to fund an expansion of the Burrup seawater supply and brine disposal scheme that will connect to the urea plant.

The NAIF loans are in addition to support from the Western Australian government, which has provided $47.6 million for road relocation costs, the detailed design of a new Dampier Cargo Wharf and upgrades to seawater supply infrastructure.

Western Australian minister for ports Rita Saffioti said the investment in a new wharf at Dampier would encourage trade diversification by opening up access to worldwide markets for urea.

“The development of a new multi-user wharf at the Port of Dampier will maximise the use of this important piece of infrastructure by facilitating the Perdaman Urea Project, as well as accommodating bulk carriers, cruise ships, and general cargo vessels,” she said.

Minister for agriculture and northern Australia David Littleproud said the NAIF commitment would help kickstart this new multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Australia currently imports around 2.4 million tonnes a year of urea for agricultural use, and the Perdaman project will have the capacity to meet 96 per cent of that volume,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The NAIF’s investment will provide farmers’ access to locally manufactured fertiliser, securing our agricultural production and boosting our exports.”

NAIF acting CEO Amanda Copping said the NAIF is committed to supporting projects that bring economic growth to northern Australia.

“We are pleased that our latest two loans will support the diversification of the Pilbara economy by supporting significant domestic manufacturing and creating thousands of regional jobs,” Ms Copping said.

Western Australia state development, jobs and trade minister Roger Cook said recent international supply chain issues have highlighted just how important urea is to industry sectors such as agriculture and transport.

“Western Australia has the potential to supply these sectors with the urea they need,” he said.

“As the first new gas manufacturing project in the Pilbara for more than a decade, the Perdaman Urea Project will play a role in helping diversify Western Australia’s economy and create local jobs.”