Australian exploration and mining company Metro Mining Limited announced last week that it has reached a key milestone in commencing production of a new bauxite mine at Western Cape York, Queensland. According to estimates, the mine may yield up to 65.3 million metric tons over its projected thirteen-year life.
Metro’s submission of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the Queensland Government Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP) begin the state government’s environmental assessment of the Bauxite Hills Project, which is classified as a Project of Regional Significance by the Queensland Government.
The project’s EIS will next be subject to an assessment by the relevant government agencies to determine whether it fully answers the Government-prescribed Terms of Reference (TOR). Upon winning government approval, the EIS will be open for public comment for thirty days. Metro estimates that the public comment period may begin in two months.
The mine, which could produce as much as A$3 billion in ore, would employ 250 miners and could begin operations in September of next year, according to the company. It would produce up to five million metric tons of Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) per year. Further, the mine is not expected to require a tailings dam nor dredging or leveling of the nearby Skardon River. Metro says it plans to operate the mine only in the region’s dry season.
According to Metro, the project plans have been reviewed by outside consultants and has changed them when necessary to prevent environmental impacts, or has made additional arrangements to mitigate such impacts.
“We have engaged some of the industry’s best consultants to assess the Bauxite Hills Project including CDM Smith who have significant experience in advising on the environmental aspects of other recently approved Projects of Regional Significance in Queensland,” said Metro’s CEO Simon Finnis. “Given the care which has been invested in the project design, we are confident that all relevant environmental issues have been identified and adequately addressed.”