Australian Bauxite Limited has signed an MoU with Gladstone Ports Corporation to investigate exporting bauxite in bulk tonnages from the Port of Bundaberg.
The company (ABx) told shareholders and the Australian Securities Exchange the MoU gives it access to a vacant block owned by the port authority to evaluate its suitability for bulk storage and loading large bulk carrier ships.
It's envisaged the volume would be about one million tonnes per year.
Australian Bauxite considers its Binjour Project between Mundubbera and Gayndah to be the best source of bauxite in Queensland that's suitable for low-temperature alumina refineries and sweetener circuits in some high-temperature refineries.
The potential mine site is 115km from the Port and 200km by road.
“ABx has worked with landholders, local government, state government, port authorities, mining contractors and logistics companies to develop a viable strategy for the Binjour Project to produce and deliver good quality metallurgical bauxite onto large bulk carrier ships at the Port of Bundaberg,” the company said in a statement.
The MoU enables the Port of Bundaberg to be assessed as the potential export hub for:
- Stockpiling bauxite of various grades from the Binjour project;
- Blending the bauxite to the contracted specification, and
- Transhipping bauxite for loading 150,000 tonne bulk carrier ships within port boundaries.
In a report to shareholders, chairman Paul Lennon said ABx was encouraged by the prospects of developing the Binjour project.
Mr Lennon said as forecast last year, bauxite prices have strengthened slightly in US dollar terms and are attractive for the company's type of bauxite.
“During 2018 and especially early 2019, shipping rates were exorbitantly high due to concerns about bunker fuel costs but as that moderates and as ports examine ways to increase efficiency, ABx becomes competitive for sales into several possible alumina refineries that use ABx’s low-temperature type of bauxite,” he said.
The company's Bald Hill mine near Campbell Town, Tasmania, began operating in December 2014.