The Bauxite Hills operation is loading its first ship of the year, the Vialli, at the port of Skardon River on Cape York after the mine’s wet season break.
The shipment, which commenced loading on April 14, is the first this year to foundation customer Xinfa – who will purchase about two million dry metric tonnes in 2020.
Owner Metro Mining says the year is off to an excellent start, with 142,000 wet metric tonnes of bauxite mined and, of that, 106,000 WMT screened to date.
It comes a week after the company announced it was nearing financial close on a $47.5 million NAIF loan facility for a planned expansion at Bauxite Hills after receiving State backing for the proposal.
The commissioning of three new triple trailer sets meant there were six sets available, and the enlarged fleet was already bearing fruit – with daily records for haulage being achieved, it said.
In the past few days, the Metro team has achieved screening rates of 850tph which is a significant increase on the average of 550tph achieved last year.
“This has been an excellent start to the year in trying times amidst all the operational changes we have had to implement to deal with the risk of COVID-19,” Metro Mining managing director and chief executive officer Simon Finnis said.
“To put the results into context, last year we only had 47,000 WMT mined and hauled prior to the commencement of shiploading activities.
“Our workforce has had to make adjustments to their working lives, including some who have relocated to Cairns; I applaud and thank everyone for their efforts.”
The land-based operational team has been joined by the transhipping crews on site, bringing the Bauxite Hills workforce to full strength.