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Definitive feasibility study backs Metro Mining's Bauxite Hill stage 2 expansion

Metro Mining Ltd. said Oct. 14 that a definitive feasibility study confirmed the economic benefits of the stage 2 expansion of the Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia.

The project includes building a floating terminal on the Skardon River that will be able to load the mine's increased capacity of 6 million wet tonnes per annum of bauxite starting in 2021.

Bauxite Hills is expected to produce between 3.3 Mt and 3.5 Mt in 2019 and 4.0 Mt in 2020 before the planned commissioning of the terminal in the first quarter of 2021.

The expansion also comprises upgrading the mining, haulage and transhipment fleets and optimizing the port and barge loading facilities.

Unit operating costs are projected to drop by about 18% once stage 2 is fully commissioned, according to Metro Mining.

Total capital costs are estimated at A$51.4 million, 85% of which is allotted for the terminal. Payback is expected in less than 18 months. Financing discussions are in advanced stages, the company said.

Metro Mining said it will make a final decision to proceed after a funding package is secured and detailed engineering and design work from Rocktree Consulting Srl is completed.

The project has been operating for more than 18 months and has produced more than 4.3 Mt of ore for sales to various Chinese refineries, according to a news release.