Green Coast Resources expects to export first shipments from its Hey Point bauxite mine on Cape York this year via load-out infrastructure that will also pave the way for Metallica Minerals’ nearby Urquhart project.
The private company started mining in 2015 and has assembled a 100,000-tonne ore stockpile, although delays in receiving marine approvals thwarted its original plans to start exports in June.
Green Coast managing director Richard Bond said the company had purchased a specialised transhipment barge and had operational port infrastructure on the Embley River adjacent to the mine.
The Hey Point bauxite project is a direct shipping ore project expected to produce 3 to 4 million tonnes of bauxite for refining overseas.
Set up at a cost of more than $10 million, the operation employs about a dozen people.
Metallica Minerals chief financial officer John Haley said that company remained on track to start production at its Urquhart bauxite project in 2017 and had recently issued tender documents for mining and haulage to various contracting groups.
Metallica entered a heads of agreement with Green Coast Resources in April that will give it access to the Hey Point load-out facilities to transport its own direct shipping bauxite product.
“That arrangement has probably saved us at least a year in permitting and construction time,” Mr Haley said.
It has also shaved set-up costs from the project, which is expected to cost less than $10 million in capital expenses and working capital to develop.
Metallica Minerals expected to release its Urquhart bauxite project prefeasibility study in October. The operation is expected to have an production rate of about 1.5 million tonnes of ore per annum, and employ about 20 people.