Metro Mining has shipped one million tonnes (Mt) of bauxite from its Bauxite Hills mine north of Weipa on Western Cape York, five months after launching mining operations.
The 60,000 tonne (t) shipment was bound for Metro’s foundation customer Xinfa Group, one of China’s largest aluminium companies.
It was part of Metro’s four-year offtake agreement to supply Xinfa with 1Mt this year. This will increase to 2Mt/y for the next three years.
Metro managing director Simon Finnis said there was particularly strong demand from refineries in inland Chinese provinces. Shortage in domestic bauxite supply was brought about by a set of mine closures and environmental audits.
Finnis said, “We have sold our total planned production for this year and currently have around 90 per cent of next year’s production also covered.”
Earlier this month, Metro announced an additional contract with China’s state-owned State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) for a delivery of 300,000 wet metric tonnes (WMt) of bauxite this year.
The shipment is considered a key step toward finalising a long-term offtake agreement with SPIC.
Metro is mining at a rate of 2Mt/y; the company has received government approvals to mine up to 10Mt/y. It is ramping up to 6Mt/y over the first four years, subject to board approval and capital.
The Bauxite Hills mine has an estimated ore reserve of 92.2Mt and a total resource of 144.8Mt. It has a mine life of 17 years.