Metro Mining Limited will recommence operations at the company’s flagship Bauxite Hills Mine after the northern Australia wet season.
The Bauxite Hills Mine is located approximately 95 kilometres north of Weipa on Western Cape York where Metro holds a total tenement package covering approximately 1,900 square kilometres.
The Bauxite Hills Mine has an estimated ore Reserve of 109.5 million tonnes (Mt) and total Resources of 138.2Mt.
Mining operations commenced in April 2018. In its first year of operations, Metro achieved its 2018 production guidance, shipping 2 Mt to five different Chinese companies.
The company advised on Wednesday that it has set a target to mine and ship 4 million wet metric tonnes (WMT) of bauxite between April and December. The initial 2.3M WMT is committed under Metro’s longstanding contract with Xinfa.
Negotiations for additional sales for 2021 and beyond are reportedly progressing well.
Last year, Metro’s 4M WMT target was thwarted by the worldwide impact of COVID-19 on market conditions across the aluminium supply chain.
Despite record mining and shipping rates, and lower operational costs, the mine was forced into an early wet season shut down in September.
Metro’s Stage 2 Expansion to an annualised rate of 6M WMT remains the core strategy for the long-term development of Bauxite Hills.
The largest component of the Stage 2 Expansion is the construction and mobilisation of a floating terminal to enable faster loading of larger ocean-going vessels.
Financing for the majority of capital involved in Stage 2 is through a $47.5 million loan facility offered by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
This was originally signed in 2020 and the Financial Close Sunset Date for the loan facility has recently been extended to 30 September 2021.
Metro Mining Managing Director and CEO, Simon Finnis, said the Metro team and their contracting partners are keen to get back to work and they are in the fortunate position of being able to welcome back many people who have experience working at Bauxite Hills before.
“We have implemented several operational changes that will improve efficiencies, and will continue to focus on mining and shipping rates and lowering operational costs, as we are always looking for improvements in our systems and processes,” Mr Finnis said.
“From what we’re seeing in the market and from our ongoing negotiations, the demand for Metro bauxite is returning, and confidence is returning to the market more widely.”