14/11/2007 - 15:15

United signs bauxite JV deal with Hydro Aluminium

14/11/2007 - 15:15

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Perth-based exploration company United Minerals Corporation Ltd has signed a joint venture deal with Norsk Hydro subsidiary Hydro Aluminium AS to establish a bauxite reserve capable of supporting an alumina refinery.

United signs bauxite JV deal with Hydro Aluminium

Perth-based exploration company United Minerals Corporation Ltd has signed a joint venture deal with Norsk Hydro subsidiary Hydro Aluminium AS to establish a bauxite reserve capable of supporting an alumina refinery.

The proposed project would be based on bauxite deposits in the remote Mitchell Plateau, locted north west of Wyndham, which had been developed by United subsidiary Bauxite Australia Pty Ltd.

Through Bauxite Australia, United will own 25 per cent of the project, with the remaining 75 per cent owned by Hydro Aluminium.

United said the potential for an integrated bauxite mine and aluminium refinery was heavily driven by the expected development of gas projects in the Browse Basin, off the Kimberley coast.

 

 

The full text of a company announcement is pasted below

The Directors of United Minerals Corporation NL (UMC) are pleased to advise that formal joint venture documents were signed in Oslo today, establishing a Joint Venture (JV) between Hydro Aluminium AS of Norway 75% (through its 100% owned subsidiary Hydro Aluminium Western Australia Pty Ltd) and UMC 25% (through its 100% owned subsidiary, Bauxite Australia Pty Ltd)

The aim of the JV is to secure a bauxite reserve sufficient to maintain a long-term supply to an alumina refinery, and, subject to feasibility studies, to construct an alumina refinery.

Bauxite Australia Pty Ltd has tenements comprising 6,830 sq km in the established bauxite province of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. All tenements the subject of the joint venture will now be owned in the proportions of the JV.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Hydro Aluminium signed in May this year, drilling and metallurgical studies have already commenced and following today's signing of the formal agreements, work on the project will now be accelerated.

The project which is dependent on a reliable energy supply, has been stimulated by the plans of gas companies, Inpex and Woodside, to build LNG production facilities adjacent to the extensive Browse Basin gas fields in the Kimberley offshore region..

Added comfort was further gained by the Western Australian Government's statement this year, that all offshore producers must reserve a percentage of their gas for onshore use at non export prices.

The potential of energy and bauxite coming together for the first time in the region, is recognised as the driving force behind this major joint venture.

The parent of Hydro Aluminium AS is Norsk Hydro, 43% owned by the Norwegian Government.

It is a Fortune 500 Company, the third largest integrated aluminium Company in the world, a signatory to the Equator principles and therefore has an impeccable reputation for its social and responsible values. In Australia Hydro owns and operates the Kurri Kurri smelter and has a significant share in the Tomago smelter, both in NSW.

The Venture has retained the services of Worley Parsons who are the most experienced engineers and project managers in the field of alumina projects and also very experienced in Australian remote area development.

The JV terms are favourable to UMC, thanks to Hydro's recognition that maintaining their Australian partner in place is a desirable and important outcome. Feasibility studies will be undertaken with Hydro shouldering a greater burden than the JV proportion.

UMC is confident of maintaining its 25% share despite the project's very large size potential with estimated multi-billion dollar capital requirements.

The parties are united in their desire to take this project through the initial reserve drilling phase and the subsequent feasibility phase to completion. Much will be done to win the trust of local people, so that the traditional owners in particular, will gain significantly in terms of improved aspirational outcomes, employment, and life quality. The venture is also committed to observing the highest standards of environmental care.

Downstream value adding to Australia's resources has so often proved to be elusive. This project offers every opportunity to fulfil that goal.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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