Initial mining is at an annual rate of 2 million tonnes and this will ramp-up to 6 million tonnes over the first four years, subject to expansion capital.
“A globally significant operation”
Managing director and CEO Simon Finnis said Bauxite Hills would be a globally significant bauxite mining operation feeding the ever-growing seaborne bauxite market.
“The Bauxite Hills Mine will become the largest independent mine within the internationally acclaimed Weipa Bauxite Region.”
Government approvals are in place to mine up to 10 million tonnes per annum at the operation on Cape York.
The mine is expected to employ up to 200 people including a significant indigenous workforce target.
Offtake with Xinfa Group
Metro’s first shipment has been purchased by the Xinfa Group one of China’s largest integrated aluminium companies.
Xinfa has significant refining and smelting operations in Shandong, Shanxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang provinces.
Metro has a four-year binding offtake agreement to supply Xinfa with 1 million tonnes in the first year followed by 2 million tonnes for each of the next three years.
First shipment of 60,000 tonnes
The first vessel has been booked to arrive on April 19 to collect a cargo of around 60,000 tonnes of bauxite bound for Shandong province.
“Commencement of mining operations is a credit to the entire Metro team,” Finnis said.
“Site management and the mining, marine and construction personnel have delivered the project in a very short time-frame and are to be congratulated.”
“It was an extraordinary achievement to complete most of construction of a world-class mine in just five months,” he added.
17-year mine life
Bauxite Hills has an estimated ore reserve of 92.2 million tonnes and a total resource of 144.8 million tonnes with an estimated 17-year mine life.
This may be extended through the conversion of resources to reserves and from any further exploration success in surrounding regional tenements.
The project is forecast to generate underlying earnings of $2.5 billion over the current mine life.