With the start of the wet season in late December, mining operations stopped with the company focused on planned maintenance on-site infrastructure during the downtime.
Metro has also used the break to complete preparatory work for installation of the capital items associated with the expansion and upgrade program to a 3.5 million tonnes per annum production rate.
The intention of the company upon resumption of mining is to build significant stockpiles of screened and unscreened material before transhipping operations resume.
Loading of the first ocean-going vessel in 2019 is planned for mid-April.
“Everything is on track”
Metro’s managing director and CEO Simon Finnis said: “The inclement weather hasn’t dampened the performance of our site maintenance and operations team, and I congratulate them and the support teams working in Cairns and Brisbane for their efforts.
“Everything is on track to achieve our 2019 production guidance of 3.5 million tonnes of bauxite.”
As part of the expansion, a duplicate screen and grizzly will be commissioned in late March.
Triple trailer sets will be delivered to the Port of Darwin for barging to Skardon River in time to coincide with the ramp-up in mining and a larger tug and barges will be introduced to the marine fleet in April.
Metro is also progressing as planned with its transition to owner-operator at the Bauxite Hills project.
All senior management positions have been filled and recruitment of operators is well advanced.
Stage II expansion DFS progresses
While delivering its near-term expansion, the company is also progressing well with refreshing the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the stage II expansion to 6 million tonnes per annum.
The updated DFS is expected to be delivered in the June quarter and, if approved by the board, may provide the opportunity to lower unit costs and significantly enhance operational efficiencies.
Finnis said: "We are looking forward to seeing the results of the updated DFS for the 6 million tonne expansion which, if approved, would represent a major step change in our Bauxite Hills operation.”