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Rambal Rambal, the founder of Perdaman, had a tumultuous journey in the fertiliser industry, encountering setbacks and challenges along the way. After a failed deal with Griffin Coal’s owner, Lanco International, Rambal shifted his focus to developing a urea plant on the Burrup Peninsula. Securing a long-term gas supply deal with Woodside in 2018, Rambal’s project gained credibility, but environmental concerns persisted due to the plant’s potential emissions impact on the Burrup Peninsula’s rock art. Despite these obstacles, Rambal received government support and financing, culminating in the signing of agreements with Incitec Pivot and Global Infrastructure Partners in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

The Perdaman plant’s location on the Burrup Peninsula, home to the World Heritage-nominated Murujuga rock art, raised concerns about the potential impact on cultural heritage sites. Despite the Circle of Elders’ decision to allow construction to disrupt five culturally significant sites, the project faced further challenges due to financial troubles within the joint venture responsible for building the plant. However, strong government support for local manufacturing of essential fertiliser and Adblue contributed to overcoming these obstacles, with the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility providing significant financing to improve infrastructure necessary for the project.

Rambal’s ability to attract financing was attributed to his personal investment in the project, highlighting the importance of having “skin in the game.” Despite the complexities and challenges of building manufacturing plants, Rambal remained optimistic about the future of manufacturing in Australia and advocated for faster environmental appeals processes in Western Australia to facilitate such projects. His success in securing crucial partnerships and financing for the Perdaman plant surprised many established industry players, as they had assumed access to the gas reserves reserved for Rambal’s project. However, relying on one of the last remaining sources of affordable gas in Western Australia may pose challenges for other manufacturers seeking to follow in his footsteps.

Rambal’s perseverance and determination in the face of setbacks and uncertainties ultimately led to the successful development of the Perdaman plant on the Burrup Peninsula. While facing legal battles with Lanco International and environmental concerns over emissions and cultural heritage, Rambal’s ability to secure financing and partnerships was crucial to the project’s progress. With government support and strategic agreements in place, including partnerships with Incitec Pivot and Global Infrastructure Partners, the Perdaman plant is poised to become a significant player in the fertiliser industry. Despite the challenges and complexities of building manufacturing plants, Rambal’s vision for the future of Australian manufacturing and his personal investment in the project have solidified his position as a leader in the industry.

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