Brisbane, Australia-based Metro Mining said it will bring forward a planned wet-season shutdown at its flagship Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on market conditions across the aluminium supply chain.

Bauxite Hills is expected to cease shipping in mid-September, and restart operations in April 2021 when deliveries into existing contract with China’s Xinfa would recommence.

The earlier than normal closure will result in most of the workforce being made redundant with only a small crew remaining on site for general maintenance.

Metro Mining Chief Executive Simon Finnis said, “We are extremely disappointed that despite a record performance from the teams on-site, and the efforts of our marketing team we have been unable to secure further sales that would have meant a very successful operating year for Metro. We live in very challenging times with many factors outside of our control."

Metro added that negotiations for bauxite sales were ongoing, and it could reopen the mine later this year if additional sales were secured for 2020 delivery. The company has also enforced cost-cutting measures that include a reduction in directors' fees and senior management salaries.