MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Chalco attains mineral development license for Aurukun project feasibility study

Published by MAC on 2007-09-15

Chalco attains mineral development license for Aurukun project feasibility study

Interfax China Metals

15th September 2007

The Queensland government in Australia has granted a mineral development license to the Aluminum Corporation of China Co. Ltd. (Chalco) for its Aurukun project, according to a government announcement released Monday.

The license covers a 40,000 hectare site in the western part of the Cape York Peninsula, and gives Chalco the green light to push ahead with its AUD 40 million ($33.06 million) feasibility study, Anna Bligh, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure in Queensland, said.

The feasibility study will be carried out over the next two years and contribute AUD 2 million ($1.65 million) per annum to the local Aurukun economy.

Geoff Wilson, Minister for Mines and Energy in Queensland, said that the feasibility study will include mining, geo-technical and engineering studies, as well as various other investigations.

"The study will determine the preferred location for an AUD 2.2 billion ($1.82 billion) alumina refinery at Gladstone, Bowen or Townsville," Wilson said.

Wilson commented that the granting of the license is a milestone in the implementation of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the State of Queensland, Chalco, the Wik and Wik Way indigenous people, and the Aurukun Shire Council.

However, Chalco's decision as to whether or not to proceed with the development of the bauxite mine and alumina refinery will be based on results of the feasibility study, he said.

"Before any mining can occur, Chalco has to be granted a mining lease over the bauxite deposits. This also requires consent from the Wik and Wik Way people and the Aurukun Shire Council," Wilson said.

The Aurukun mine is located in the remote Cape York area of Queensland and contains bauxite reserves estimated to range between 500 million tons and 650 million tons.

Chalco's proposed AUD 3 billion ($2.48 billion) Aurukun project includes the development of a bauxite mine with an annual capacity of 6.5 million tons, the construction of bauxite loading facilities, as well as a refinery on the east coast of Queensland.

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