Saturday 23rd Mar, 2019

Rio Tinto’s $2.6B Amrun bauxite mine opens

Image: McConnell Dowell

Rio Tinto’s $2.6 billion Amrun bauxite mine has been officially opened and is set to support hundreds of jobs and inject millions into the local economy.

Located in Weipa on the Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, the mine will provide high-quality material for alumina refineries in Queensland and overseas.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said Australia is already the world’s biggest producer and exporter of alumina, with the product from the site expected to boost the country’s bauxite export by 10 million tonnes per year.

“The higher-grade bauxite being mined at Amrun is becoming scarcer around the world, and at the same time, world consumption of alumina is forecast to escalate in coming years,” Canavan said.

“These factors will underpin the future success of the operation, which is expected to have a 50-year life span.

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“I’m particularly pleased to see a strong Indigenous presence in the workforce with close to 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed on the project since its inception,” he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the mine had secured around 2000 ongoing jobs for the Cape since the project started in late 2015.

“This is a great day for the entire region, and my Government will continue to support the resources sector.”

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the resources industry directly employs more than 66,000 Queenslanders with thousands more employed in support industries.

“We know our massive resources is supporting our flourishing Queensland economy and helping to drive our great State towards a brighter future, which is why we’re proud to work with Rio Tinto,” Lynham said.

Australia’s bauxite exports are forecast to increase from $32 million tonnes in 2018-19 to 36 million tonnes in 2019-20.