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CBH reaches halfway mark on $50 million-plus fertiliser facility with plans to open the site in March

WA farming cooperative CBH Group has hit the halfway mark on construction of its $50 million-plus fertiliser facility at Kwinana, with plans to open the facility in March.

The project — CBH’s biggest construction project since building the Kwinana Grain Terminal more than 40 years ago — is set to supercharge its foothold in WA’s highly competitive fertiliser market.

It involves construction of a 55,000 tonne-capacity granular fertiliser shed and two tanks to store 32,000 tonnes of liquid fertiliser next to the Kwinana Grain Terminal it built in 1969.

The co-operative and chosen builder Kerman Contracting turned the sod on the historic project in January, with CBH chair Simon Stead then revealing soaring construction costs meant the facility would cost upwards of the $50m originally flagged.

CBH fertiliser head David Pritchard said the first layer of concrete was down and the concrete walls were starting to be assembled.

“The two 16,000t urea ammonium nitrate tanks are going up and importantly, the 1.8km of related pipework from the Kwinana Grain Terminal Jetty to these tanks is under construction,” he said.

CBH plans to leverage its existing infrastructure at the Kwinana Grain Terminal and build a dedicated liquid pipeline — for urea ammonium nitrate — along the alignment of the existing terminal jetty which would then go underground to the fertiliser facility.

The company first proposed a bigger project, with an 80,000-tonne granular storage shed and three tanks to store 48,000 tonnes of UAN, before scaling it back late last year due to surging construction costs.

The cooperative entered the now highly competitive, 1.8 million tonne-a-year WA commercial fertiliser market in 2015, providing a range of compound granular fertilisers from Kwinana and Geraldton facilities leased from Qube.

CBH has spruiked the project as a way to increase competition in the fertiliser market, and reduce prices for farmers.

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