Mining began in April this year at the site, 95km north of Weipa, which only operates during the region’s ‘dry season’.
Metro Mining is heading into 2019 with plans to boost production at Bauxite Hills on Cape York in the face of strong demand from China.
Free-dig bauxite is mined by front-end loaders then trucked to the port facilities, where it is screened, fed into the Barge Loading Facility (BLF) and into barges.
Tugs tow the barges down the Skardon River and out to an anchorage point beyond the river mouth where ocean-going vessels are loaded.
Metro is on track to produce about two million wet metric tonnes (WMT) of bauxite for the 2018 calendar year, with plans to boost that quickly to 3.5 million WMT through expansion works in the next few months.
A definitive feasibility study for Stage 2 expansion to lift production to 6 million WMT per annum is being updated and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.
Metro is now Australia’s largest independent bauxite producer.
Metro executives told the Annual General Meeting in November that 201 people were employed at the Bauxite Hills mine, with 35.3 per cent being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait heritage.