ASX-listed Australian Bauxite has taken a significant step towards the eventual shipping of “metallurgical-grade” bauxite having lodged a mining lease application for its Sunrise bauxite project 115km south-west of the Port of Bundaberg in Queensland. The application covers the proposed $15 million development of Sunrise that incorporates the high-quality gibbsite-rich trihydrate Binjour bauxite deposit.
ASX-listed bauxite producer, Australian Bauxite, has taken a significant step towards the eventual shipping of “metallurgical-grade” bauxite having lodged a mining lease application for its Sunrise bauxite project 115km south-west of the Port of Bundaberg in Queensland.
The Sydney-based company confirmed this week that it had made the application for the mining lease, which will be a key catalyst for the proposed $15 million development program at Sunrise to proceed.
The focus of the development will be the exploitation of the Binjour deposit that hosts higher-quality gibbsite-rich trihydrate bauxite, widely regarded as the more valuable of alumina ore minerals.
The gibbsite mineral is alumina trihydrate, which readily dissolves at low temperatures and pressures at the alumina refinery stage. Australian Bauxite’s bauxite is predominantly the gibbsite-rich type and it considers Binjour to be the best source of gibbsite-trihydrate bauxite in Queensland.
The company says the higher-grade product from Binjour is ideal “metallurgical bauxite” for producing aluminium metal via low-temperature Bayer-process alumina refineries.
It hopes the Sunrise project can pump out approximately 500,000 tonnes per annum of the saleable bauxite grading 44 per cent to 45 per cent aluminium oxide and 5 per cent silica for export and refining into alumina. An initial mine life has been estimated at 23 years.
Australian Bauxite says its Indian marketing partner, Mumbai-based Rawmin Mining and Industries, has agreed to fund all the pre-production CAPEX and working capital costs for the Sunrise project totalling $15 million. The funding deal remains subject to final due diligence, which has been temporarily stymied by pandemic-related travel restrictions.
Under the terms of the arrangement, Rawmin – which is looking to secure metallurgical bauxite for its Chinese customers – would be entitled to a 50 per cent stake in the joint-ventured asset. Australian Bauxite would remain project operator should the proposed mining operation come on stream.
Latest stated indicated and inferred bauxite resources for Binjour stand at 37 million tonnes consisting of 10.4 million tonnes of gibbsite-rich trihydrate bauxite – suitable for simple bulk mining, screening and shipping as direct shipping ore bauxite.
Australian Bauxite has also earmarked 26.6 million tonnes of the ore for upgrading using its proprietary TasTech technology to achieve the long-term sales grade of 44-45 per cent aluminium oxide.
Its aspiration over the past decade has been to export high-quality metallurgical-grade bauxite in Capesize bulk carrier ships with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes from the Port of Bundaberg, to where the Binjour bauxite will be trucked.
To that end, Australian Bauxite has struck a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Bundaberg to assess the possibility of a site being designated at the port for the stockpiling and blending of bauxite to contracted specifications.
Government granting of the Sunrise mining lease is anticipated in the next year or so. In the interim, Australian Bauxite will continue to capitalise from the production of fertiliser-grade and cement-grade bauxite at the Bald Hill mine in northern Tasmania.
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