International tender for Aurukun bauxite

The Queensland Government will conduct an international tender for the development rights of the Aurukun bauxite in Western Cape York.

“The original tender process in 2005-06 was based on bidders committing to develop the bauxite resource as a bauxite mine as well as a new alumina refinery to process that bauxite in Queensland,” QLD minister for state development Andrew Fraser said.

Fraser said some companies withdrew because they were unable to meet the development requirements of the new alumina refinery.

While Chalco, the world’s second largest aluminium company won the original tender in 2007, after discussions between the miner and the QLD Government, the agreement ended on 30 June last year.

He explained that “this was due to the Global Financial Crisis resulting in significant unfavourable market changes in the global aluminium industry and Chalco’s feasibility study work indicating challenges in delivering the alumina refinery component”.

“In the past year, the Queensland Government has continued to have discussions with Chalco on an exclusive basis-including in relation to new development and value-adding investment options that could be considered as a substitute for the alumina refinery, and what form the alternative might take.”

However, it has now discontinued those discussions with Chalco, he added.

The Government will reportedly now consider a new set of development conditions, while also consulting with the Aurukun community for the new tender process.

It expects this process will begin by the end of the year, adding that it would welcome another bid from Chalco.

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