Crunch time for Binjour bauxite project
The operation, 115km south-west of Bundaberg, would employ 45-55 people if it goes ahead and have a mining life of more than 15 years.
The company behind the southern Queensland bauxite project is already producing bauxite in Tasmania.
Chief executive officer Ian Levy said it would cost $10-$12 million to bring Binjour online and the company was hoping to able to start onsite work by late 2020, if it went ahead with the mining lease application.
The process would be very rapid once a mining lease had been approved, he said.
“Once we get the mining lease, it would be a matter of months to get it up and running,” Mr Levy said.
“In Tasmania it took us less than three months from getting the approval to our first railing of product to the port.”
Ore screens ‘superbly’Kicking off mining at Binjour would be largely a simple matter of land clearing, he said.
“The roads are already in place and the equipment we use will have to be portable because we move across kilometres of land. Rather than having large trucks hauling ore to a process plant, we will move the process plant closer to the mine.”
Australian Bauxite had found that the Binjour ore screened ‘superbly’, he said.
Processing will entail a large trommel screening system and the mining will be a shallow open-pit operation
“The places where we will start is where the ore outcrops,” Mr Levy said.
“We will systematically get deeper and deeper – up to more than 10m deep in the future, but the first two years we hope to be very shallow mining.
He said rehabilitation would take place immediately as each area was mined, with the operation covering about 1sq km at a time and moving across a 42sq km tenement area.
Binjour bauxite resources total 37 million tonnes and the project would be fully funded by Australian Bauxite’s marketing partner, Rawmin Mining of India.
A tripartite sales memorandum of Understanding has been executed between Australian Bauxite, Rawmin and Chinese aluminium producer Tianshan, which is building an alumina refinery in Southern China that needs large supplies of the Binjour-type of bauxite from late 2020.
Australian Bauxite has also executed an MoU with the Port of Bundaberg to investigate the opportunity to export bauxite in bulk tonnages through that port.
Unlike the bauxite mined in the Weipa area, the gibbsite-trihydrate (THA) metallurgical grade bauxite at Binjour is suited for low-temperature alumina refineries.
Mr Levy said the mine life would depend on the level of demand for that type of bauxite.
“We hope that we can get a 25 -year project out of it, but it will all depend on how much the customers are prepared to pay,” he said.
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