Perdaman breaks ground on $6 billion Pilbara Urea Project

The Australian and Western Australian governments have welcomed the start of construction at Perdaman's $6 billion Pilbara urea project - the first new gas manufacturing project in the Pilbara in more than a decade.

Located 20 kilometres north-west of Karratha, it is estimated the Perdaman Urea Project will create 2,500 jobs during construction and 200 operational jobs.

The project will convert Western Australian natural gas from Woodside's Scarborough Gas Project into an estimated 2.3 million tonnes of urea per annum. Urea is a widely used form of fertiliser for food production.

Currently, Australia imports around 2.4 million tonnes of urea per year.

The ground-breaking is a major milestone for the project and follows last week's positive final investment decision.

The WA Government has executed agreements that will deliver more than $300 million in funding for the development of the project and the region.

This includes the landmark $255 million Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loans secured for the Pilbara Ports Authority and Water Corporation.

Announced in February 2022, the two loans were the first NAIF investments into WA Government entities and include:

  • $159 million to the Pilbara Ports Authority for a new multi-user wharf and facilities at the Port of Dampier; and
  • $96 million to the Water Corporation for the expansion of the Burrup seawater supply and brine disposal scheme that will connect to the Perdaman Urea Plant once built.

Additionally, more than $50 million in funding has been committed by the McGowan Government to support early design works and upgrades to public infrastructure, including:

  • road works
  • detailed design of a new Dampier Cargo Wharf; and
  • upgrades to seawater supply infrastructure.

Export Finance Australia will provide a $269 million loan to the project, alongside NAIF and 12 other commercial lenders. EFA's loan supports Perdaman's export plans, with the project to provide vital fertiliser exports to Australia's trading partners.

WA Premier Mark McGowan and WA State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook congratulated Perdaman on reaching the project milestone at a ground-breaking ceremony held today.

Comments attributed to WA Premier Mark McGowan:

"This important project represents a significant investment in the Pilbara and WA, underlining the region's role as the engine room of Australia's economy.

"My Government is proud to support developments like the Perdaman Urea Project that will deliver decades of economic benefits for WA, creating local jobs and diversifying the Pilbara economy.

"It is estimated the project will create thousands of jobs within the State and generate a total revenue of $77 billion over its life."

Comments attributed to Resources; Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King:

"This project is a leading example of how the Albanese Government is supporting Northern Australia, creating jobs and supporting industries of the future.

"This $6 billion urea project will unlock significant and strategic benefits locally, nationally and globally.

"It will provide fertiliser for Australian farmers and will support food security throughout the region and beyond.

"Ultimately it will help feed a great many people."

Comments attributed to WA State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook:

"The Perdaman Urea Project has an important role to play in diversifying our economy and creating local jobs for the future.

"We know that Perdaman has worked closely with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to ensure that industry can co-exist and thrive alongside the cultural values of the Traditional Owners.

"The urea produced at Perdaman's Pilbara plant will be exported around the world and used in industry sectors such as agriculture.

"Infrastructure upgrades to facilitate the project will have flow on economic benefits for the State, including the potential development of other downstream processing and hydrogen projects."

Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:

"I welcome this significant milestone for our region - the first new gas manufacturing project in the Pilbara in more than a decade.

"The project will deliver hundreds of locally based, high quality jobs - strengthening our regional economy and supporting our local community."