Weipa mine doubles down
A CAPE York mine is nearly doubling its production of bauxite to meet growing demand.
Metro Mining says orders from China are leading to the $7 million expansion which would increase production at Bauxite Hills near Weipa from 2 million wet metric tonnes a year to 3.5m tonnes next year.
Metro managing director and chief executive Simon Finnis said Metro had experienced an increase in demand for bauxite from a range of customers in China.
“The operation has now produced over 1.6 million tonnes of bauxite and we have identified low cost and short lead time initiatives to increase production next year,” he said.
“The payback on the capital would be well within the 2019 calendar year, an excellent return.”
The company says the expansion will be done during the planned wet season shutdown in the first quarter of next year.
The expansion will be handled by the existing workforce of 201.
“The increase in production will allow Metro to deliver meaningful volumes to customers that have experienced shortages of domestic bauxite supply,” a company statement said.
“Metro’s product has been well accepted in China with sales being made to a total of five customers to date.
“Much of the existing plant and infrastructure at Bauxite Hills has been designed to accommodate higher operating levels so the initiatives to incrementally increase production are easy to implement and low cost.” The expansion includes: ■ Supplementing the current truck and haulage fleet configuration.
■ Duplicating screening capacity at the barge loading facility.
■ Accelerating installation of a jaw crusher to enable shipment of oversized material.
■ Supplementing the marine fleet and on-water infrastructure to maximise efficiency of tug and barge movements.
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