Australia’s Metro Mining Ltd announced yesterday that it had acquired Gulf Alumina Ltd’s remaining shares, and that it would begin the process of combining Gulf’s Skardon River Project with its own Bauxite Hills project.
Metro’s press release said that the firm has begun work on a bankable feasibility study to determine the advantages and disadvantages of joining the two projects. Should Metro go forward with combining the projects, the resulting operation will be among the largest independent operations in the Weipa bauxite region of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, doubling the firm’s reserve of direct shipping ore to a total of 96.5 million metric tons.
In addition to vastly increasing Metro’s reserves, the purchase of Gulf Alumina also nets the firm additional infrastructure – Metro will take title to Gulf’s airstrip, port, and haul roads in the area.
Simon Finnis, Metro’s CEO, lauded the move, saying that the combination of the two operations will benefit all parties, including landowners, the government, and the regional economy.
“Recent meetings with our traditional owners confirmed their support for the combined approach, which will minimise impact on the environment,” he said. “The combined projects will improve capital and operating efficiencies, streamline regulatory approvals, improve project financing and enhance product marketing opportunities. Simply put, we have a significant long life, low capital cost and high margin Australian bauxite project.”
It’s apparent that Metro, now with the additional firepower brought to bear with Gulf’s assets, intends to work towards becoming a major player in the bauxite trade.
“Our sights are firmly set on expediting the expanded Project through to production,” Finnis concluded.
Metro Mining is based in Brisbane, and began life when it was spun off from Cape Alumina Ltd. upon its takeover by MetroCoal Ltd in 2014. The firm has exploration rights in over 500 square miles of western Cape York, which is second to only Rio Tinto Alcan. Its primary asset is its Bauxite Hills Project, which is expected to yield up to four million metric tons per annum.