Far North Queensland’s Metro Mining has commenced operations at its Bauxite Hills mine in Weipa, and expects to soon send its first shipment of roughly 60,000 tonnes to China’s Xinfa Group.
Metro told the ASX on April 16 that it commenced operations in Weipa on April 13.
The Bauxite Hills project will mine bauxite at an initial rate of 2 million tonnes per annum, but Metro says it will ramp up to a steady state of 6 million tonnes per annum, and has government approvals in place for a further growth to 10 million tonnes per annum.
Xinfa Group, a Chinese aluminium company, will refine the first shipment of bauxite. The shipment will be sent to China’s Shandong Province, after being moved to Weipa by haul trucks.
Metro has a four-year offtake deal to supply Xinfa with one million tonnes in the first year of Bauxite Hill operations, and then two million tonnes per year for the next three years. Xinfa has significant refining and smelting operations in China’s Shandong, Shanxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang provinces.
“The Bauxite Hills Mine will become the largest independent mine within the internationally acclaimed Weipa Bauxite Region,” Metro’s managing director Simon Finnis said.
“Commencement of mining operations is a credit to the entire Metro team. 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.”
The Bauxite Hills Mine has an estimated Ore Reserve of 92.2 million tonnes, and a total Resource of 144.8 million tonnes, giving it an estimated mine life of 17 years, according to Metro’s plans.
The mine is expected to employ as many as 200 people.