Anglo-Australian mining titan Rio Tinto Group announced yesterday the first shipment of bauxite from its Amrun project, beating the scheduled timeframe by a full six weeks.
The firm marked the accomplishment at a ceremony held on the Western Cape York Peninsula where 80 thousand metric tons of bauxite harvested from the mine was loaded on the RTM Weipa for a two-week voyage. The initial batch of bauxite is destined now for Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone. Among the attendees were Wik-Waya Traditional Owners and representatives of the Western Cape Communities Co-existence Agreement (WCCCA).
Rio Tinto says the Amrun mine will replace the dwindling output from the East Weipa mine, plus adding another 10 million metric tons per year of production upon full ramp-up, which is expected within a year. The US$1.9 billion mine is expected to have a peak production capacity of 22.8 million metric tons per year at full production.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios greeted the milestone as a significant event for both the company and the local economy.
“Bringing Amrun online further strengthens our position as a leading supplier in the seaborne market. We have the largest bauxite resources in the industry and are geographically well positioned to supply China’s significant future import needs, as well as supporting our refinery and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand.
“The Amrun mine will ensure generational jobs for Queenslanders and build significantly on our 55-year history on the Western Cape.”
Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh credited the schedule-besting milestone to design and process improvements unique to the project.
“We are proud to have delivered the project safely, ahead of time and within budget thanks to innovation in the design and fabrication of key infrastructure purpose-built for construction at Amrun’s remote location.”
“We thank our community and Traditional Owner partners for their continued support and congratulate the Amrun Project and Weipa Operations teams on this great achievement,” he concluded.
The world’s most prolific producer of bauxite ore, Rio Tinto mined 50.8 million metric tons of the ore in 2017.