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Glencore has entered into an agreement for Mitsubishi Development to become a joint venture partner in its Aurukun bauxite project.

Glencore project director Julian Farrugia hailed the deal as a sign of market confidence in the Cape York project.

The company is assessing the feasibility of developing an open-cut bauxite mine with an expected mine life of more than 20- years and annual production of up to eight million dry tonnes of washed bauxite per year.

The mine would require a workforce of up to 250 people over a two-year construction phase and create around 400 jobs when it enters production.

Under the terms of the proposed unincorporated joint venture, Mitsubishi would acquire a 30 per cent stake and Glencore would retain 70 per cent ownership and full management.

Bauxite is a key ingredient in aluminium, a recyclable and widely used metal in the transport, construction and packaging industries.

“Since our first involvement with the project, we have been engaging with a range of potential customers and interested parties to support the development of the Aurukun bauxite resource, as we’ve done for multiple resource projects in Australia over the past 20 years,” Mr Farrugia said.

“We were approached by a number of parties interested to participate in the project, and are pleased to have selected Mitsubishi, with whom Glencore has previous experience in joint ventures, to jointly progress this opportunity.”

Glencore is finalising an Environmental Impact Statement for the project, which will be available for public consultation in mid-2021, as part of the State and Federal Government environmental approvals process.

“Importantly, our project pathway is based on a foundation of strong and early direct community engagement. Since our first visit to Aurukun in 2013, we have been committed to openly and transparently discussing the benefits and impacts of the project with the community,” Mr Farrugia said.

The JV agreement with Mitsubishi is subject to Australian and international regulatory approvals. This includes approval from the Queensland Government under the terms of Glencore’s Development Agreement with the State.

As part of the agreement, Glencore and Mitsubishi propose to split the offtake of bauxite production from any development in accordance with their ownership interest.

Joint venture boost for Aurukun bauxite plans