Australian Bauxite’s (ABx) maiden shipment of 5557 tonnes of cement-grade bauxite has been loaded and dispatched from Bell Bay Port in northern Tasmania. The shipment concludes the first sale of bauxite from ABx’s Bald Hill mine, which is Australia’s first new bauxite project for more than 35 years.

The customer is seeking a second, larger shipment of 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes once the large stockpile warehouse in the receiving port is approved and ready to receive bauxite. ABx expects this to occur within two months. It says the sale price is satisfactorily profitable but commercial-in-confidence.

ABx’s logistics manager Paul Glover said, “The bauxite is in perfect condition for our bauxite cement customer. It is even grained, dry, dust-free and exceptionally clean due to rigorous processing by Stornoway contractors at Bald Hill mine, careful transport pit-to-port by TasRail and professional port handling by QUBE Ports. This, combined with excellent chemistry makes our bauxite ideal for a range of customers, several of which have recently requested samples from us for testing.”

ABx’s chief operating officer Leon Hawker said, “In 2014, ABx had three marketing plans - A, B and C. Plans A & B were to sell metallurgical bauxite to alumina refineries in China and India but in November 2015, both markets closed to new entrants.

"Fortunately ABx also developed Plan C in 2014 to sell into the cement and fertiliser industries. This involved careful test work to achieve the special standards required by each customer and ABx’s bauxite proved to be suitable for a wide range of applications. We will further enhance the product qualities via our TasTech technology.”

ABx continues with its plan to use sales revenues, rather than capital raisings to fund the company’s growth, including R&D into TasTech technology which allows ABx to separate Tasmanian bauxite into the three constituent product-types:

  1. High grade, ultra-cleaned metallurgical-grade bauxite for the aluminium industry;
  2. Cement-grade bauxite for the manufacture of certified, high specification cement; and,
  3. Fertiliser-grade bauxite for the fertiliser industry.

Due to the rapid deterioration of the metallurgical bauxite market, ABx has taken steps since December to conserve cash until its balance sheet strengthens from sales and other income, including a temporary suspension of production and haulage of bauxite products from the Bald Hill Bauxite Project at Campbell Town, Tasmania.

Once additional sales contracts are finalised, ABx and its contractors can reopen the Bald Hill Bauxite Project within two weeks. Rehabilitation and sales of bauxite from existing stockpiles at the mine will continue and the mine can quickly ramp-up bauxite production without delay.