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Glencore is continuing to progress work on plans for an open-cut bauxite mine on Cape York with the potential to employ up to 350 people in construction and about 400 in its operation.

The Aurukun Bauxite Project is in the feasibility stage and the company is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for submission to the Queensland Government this year.

An EPBC Act referral for the project was submitted to the Federal environment department this month.

The mine is expected to reach a peak production rate of up to 15 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of run-of-mine bauxite ore, equating
to up to 8 million dry tonnes per annum (Mdtpa) of product bauxite.

Bauxite ore will be screened and washed at an on-site beneficiation plant and the product is to be transported by road train to a coastal loading facility about 15km west of the mine.

There are plans for a workforce accommodation village with up to 280 beds.

Glencore estimates the mine life would be approximately 25 years, including about two years of construction.

The project site is about 35km south of Weipa and 23km north-east of the Aboriginal community of Aurukun.

Glencore was selected as the preferred proponent to develop the Aurukun Bauxite Project in January 2015, following a competitive bid process, and was granted a mineral development licence over the resource in 2017.

It came after aluminium producer Chalco in 2010 pulled out of a $3 billion deal with the State Government to mine the Aurukun deposits and develop a refinery in Australia.

A Glencore spokesman said 2019 had seen the company complete environmental field studies and technical investigations for the project.

It had also undertaken a wide-ranging consultation program in the community and region.

“We’re now preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for submission to the Queensland Government later this year,” the company spokesman said.

“We are continuing our discussions with directly affected Traditional Owners and Ngan Aak-Kunch Aboriginal Corporation, as part of the approval process for any development, and we are very mindful of the project’s significance for all local stakeholders, including the Aurukun community.”