Metro resumes Bauxite Hills operations following production delays

Activities during development of Bauxite Hills. Image: Metro Mining.

Metro Mining has recommenced operations at its Bauxite Hills mine, having completed activities relating to the expansion of production in 2019.

Following delays caused by a late cyclone, Metro has installed duplicate screening infrastructure at the port and integrated new 7000-tonne barges and triple-set trailers.

While daily mining rates were initially hindered by wet conditions and delays in the delivery of new triple trailers, Metro reported that the addition of the new fleet equipment has resulted in an increase in production levels.

The company anticipated further increases in production in its June mining plan, which indicated that bauxite will also be mined from the BH6 deposit, located only six kilometres from the nearest port.

Transhipment and shiploading activities commenced from Bauxite Hills on April 13, with the site having a nominal eight to nine-month operating season and a required ship-loading rate of 13,500 tonnes per day.

While these rates were being achieved through mid-May, unexpected large and sustained swell conditions caused by an unusual south-easterly wind pattern resulted in disruption to ship loading.

As a result, Metro has reported a decreased production guidance of 3.3-3.5 million tonnes (previously 3.4-3.6 million tonnes), representing a reduction of three per cent.

The company remains confident however, that given the transhipping rates being achieved in late May, some of the June quarter production shortfall can be recovered during the remainder of the 2019 operating season.

“Whilst these weather events are frustrating, I am really pleased to see how the operations are now performing following commissioning of all elements of the expansion and upgrade program,” Metro managing director Simon Finnis said.

“We remain committed to achieving our updated 2019 production guidance.”

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