Mining and screening at Australian Bauxite’s Bald Hill project near Campbell Town, Tasmania, exceeded the annual production rate of 900,000 tonnes during February, significantly more than the design rate of 500,000 tonnes. The company completed all optimization tests by early March.
The company’s first mine began on December 9, 2014 and operations in January and February revealed that a crushing plant is not required because the ore breaks naturally during handling with minimal oversize lumps.
Australian Bauxite is finalizing contracts for leasing the optimum fleet of mobile equipment and the specialized screening plant on a long-term basis. Once all components of the transport from pit to ship are operating smoothly, railing of bauxite to Bell Bay Port will start at a daily rate of 1100 tonnes and increase later in the year when shiploads double to 60,000 tonnes per month.
The target date for the commencement of shipments is late May or June and sales contracts are being framed to coincide with the initial shipment arrangements and subsequent ramp-up in tonnages over the following 12 months. The company says bauxite demand and US dollar prices remain strong and are rising strongly in Australian dollar terms.
Ongoing exploration by Australian Bauxite has discovered two new deposits at Nile Road and the new Rubble Flat prospect, each with potential to replace more than 12 months of production. Resource estimation is being carried out at Nile Road while initial assays have been received for Rubble Flat. These deposits remain open and further drilling is under way to test the extensions of Rubble Flat.
Australian Bauxite holds the core of the Eastern Australian Bauxite Province. It has 37 bauxite tenements in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania.