Queensland-based Metro Mining has been given the go-ahead by its board to expand the capacity of the Bauxite Hills mine to 7 million wet metric tonnes per annum.
The mine is one of the largest independent operations within the world renowned Weipa bauxite province.
The approval for the expansion is underpinned by securing additional binding offtake with Xinfa Aluminium Group for 2023 and 2024.
There are no further traditional owner, environmental or regulatory approvals required as Metro already has approval to mine up to 10mwmtpa.
The company said the expansion capital of $28.3m and increased capacity provides flexibility to support upside spot demand as required and, at the same time, reducing implementation risk.
The choice to leverage Metro’s established experience with a Floating Crane Barge (FCB), with a much lower capital cost than the previously considered floating terminal, allows a more rapid, lower risk and lower cost implementation as well as significant operating risk reduction and synergy.
Securing the access to a new crane is the critical path item for commissioning of the second FCB by the end of Q3 2023.
Metro has obtained an extension of the working capital facility announced in April 2022, to be able to secure a crane production slot, commence the FEED detailed design and expand EPCM capability.
Metro’s managing director and chief executive officer Simon Wensley said the definitive feasibility study for the expansion confirmed Bauxite Hills Mine as a highly profitable, low-cost, long life producer of good quality bauxite.
“This brownfield expansion is low risk and low capital expenditure, with 100 per cent binding offtake now confirmed for 2023 and 2024 with our established customer Xinfa, and no further approvals required,” he said.
“The choice of a second FCB makes enormous sense given the experience we have gained and we expect to gain a number of operational efficiencies from running two floating cranes.”