THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Australian Bauxite is expanding the focus of a prefeasibility study (PFS) on the company’s Goulburn bauxite project located near Goulburn in New South Wales.
Goulburn bauxite project area. Source: Company announcement
The company has commissioned Como Engineers and other metallurgical and environmental engineering firms to prepare the study, of which Marubeni Corporation has contributed 35 per cent of the cost.
At the completion of the pre-feasibility study Marubeni can elect to acquire a 35 per cent joint venture interest in the Goulburn-Taralga bauxite project.
Australian Bauxite’ original focus for the PFS was a conservative, lowest-capital cost case of 1.2 million tonnes per annum of bauxite delivered to ship at Port Kembla.
A second study was also based on a 1.2Mtpa scale but involved higher rail capital costs so as to reduce the operating costs.
According to the company both of the 1.2Mtpa cases yielded positive results with high internal rates of return and confirmed the feasibility to commence the project at the rate of 1.2Mtpa, modelled on current road-base quarry operations in the area.
Modelling is now being expanded to provide a ramp-up option to 2.5 to 3Mtpa bauxite out of Port Kembla.
“Continued drilling over the Goulburn bauxite project in the March quarter intercepted high grade bauxite of extraordinary thicknesses in excess of 30 metres, which is probably the thickest bauxite ever discovered in Australia,” Australian Bauxite chief executive officer Ian Levy said un the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“This significant discovery substantially increased the scope of the Project and warranted extending the modelling to provide for significant ramp-up possibilities.
“We are in discussions with a number of potential customers and are confident that the demand and price for our low silica, gibbsite Direct Shipping Ore bauxite will be mutually beneficial to our customers and to Australian Bauxite Limited.”
Levy said he considered the bauxite market to currently be the strongest of all mineral commodity markets with China importing all-time record tonnages.
He also highlighted an Indonesia government clamp-down on bauxite export operations and an increase to export taxes on bauxite by 20 per cent, claiming it to be an opportunity for Australia to expand its exports of quality-enhanced bauxite.