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Metro Mining has secured a $47.5 million NAIF loan for infrastructure to step up production at its Bauxite Hills mine, about 95km north of Weipa.

It comes after the company last month announced completion of the definitive feasibility study for the Stage 2 expansion of the operation to 6 million wet metric tonnes per annum.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) offer is for a loan facility of up to $47.5 million provided through a loan for up to nine years.

The Bauxite Hills mine exports bauxite via barges to bulk ore carriers through the Skardon River on Cape York Peninsula.

The largest component of the proposed expansion would be the construction and mobilisation to Skardon River of a shiploader or floating terminal at a cost of about $44 million.

Metro says the positive NAIF investment decision is further confirmation of the strong long-term financial returns to be generated from the Stage 2 expansion.

The expansion is set to take the mine life out to 2037 and position Bauxite Hills in the lowest quartile of the global cash cost curve for bauxite producers.

“We are very pleased to have secured the support of NAIF in providing a long-term loan to provide financing for the Stage 2 expansion,” Metro Mining managing director and chief executive officer Simon Finnis said.

“Bauxite Hills will be a significant contributor to the economy of Northern Australia and a large employer from the surrounding communities for many years to come.”

With the Stage 2 definitive feasibility study complete and financing secured, the company was awaiting completion of the final design of the floating terminal to present to the Metro Mining Board for final approval, he said.

NAIF acting chief executive officer Amanda Copping said the NAIF Board was pleased that the funding support would assist in the expansion plans of a project that would generate more than $500 million in public benefit and create jobs in the Cape.

Metro and NAIF are working together to finalise documentation and satisfy customary Conditions Precedent to drawdown including all Government approvals in relation to the financing.

NAIF loan to charge up bauxite mine expansion