After rising by an estimated 1.2% in 2020 to 359.2 million metric tonnes (Mt), global bauxite production is forecast by GlobalData to increase by 3.8% in 2021 to reach 372.8 Mt. The data and analytics company notes that increased output from mines in Australia (+4.1%) and Guinea (+3.6%), as well as production from mines elsewhere returning to their pre-COVID levels, will be the key contributors.

bauxiteVinneth Bajaj, associate project manager at GlobalData, said, “Over the forecast period (2021-2025), global bauxite production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.2% to reach 406.7 thousand metric tonnes (kt) by 2025. Australia (+1.6%) and Guinea (+6.5%) will maintain a steady supply growth, supported by a series of upcoming projects. Together, they account for eight of the 17 planned bauxite projects, tracked by GlobalData, which have the potential to commence production by 2025.”

In Australia, bauxite production growth will be supported by the recommencement of Metro Mining’s Bauxite Hills mine, where operations were halted due to the wet season. The mine is expected to produce around 4 Mt of bauxite in 2021.

Further, the formal commitment of the stage two expansion of the mine to a capacity of 6 Mt, which is part of the company’s long-term development plan, will be dependent on the global market conditions.

Bajaj continued, “In Guinea, the Boffa mine, which began operations in January 2020, is expected to gradually reach its full capacity during the second half of 2021. The mine is expected to produce up to 9 Mt of bauxite in 2021, compared with 7 Mt in 2020. Earlier in 2021, operations began at the Garafiri project which has over 300 Mt of bauxite reserves. The project has an initial production capacity of 3 Mt, which will be expanded up to 8 Mt.”

In late July 2021, China Railway Construction Corp. announced completion of the construction of a railway line from Boffa to Boke, which will now increase the single trip freight volume to 10,000 t, up from 5,000 t earlier, as part of the first phase of the Boke development project. 

Phases two and three include exploitation of bauxite resources in the new mining areas of Santou II and Houda and development of an alumina refinery in the Boke special economic zone. Overall, this will play a crucial role in establishing Guinea as an export nation.


Mining Industry Briefs

  • The International Mining and Resources Conference will postpone its show until 31 January - 2 February 2022. This is due to the increasing number of COVID cases and lockdown situation across Australia. “We plan to run the event as per our existing plans, both online and in-person, early next year, rather than go completely online like in 2020,” organisers said.

  • The board of directors of DGR Global Ltd announced that incumbent Non-Executive Director Peter Wright has been appointed chairman of the board.

  • Elevate Uranium Ltd named Dr Andy Wilde exploration manager of the company, effective 16 August. Elevate’s Managing Director Murray Hill commented, “We are delighted to attract someone of Dr Wilde’s calibre and experience to our team. Andy is one of a select group of geologists that have relevant experience in surficial calcrete hosted uranium mineralisation contained within paleochannels, such as we have in Namibia. In addition, Andy has intimate knowledge of our Australian assets having previously worked on the vast majority of these with other companies. We are delighted that Andy has joined our team and believe that his knowledge and experience will add substantial value to the company’s suite of assets and we welcome him to the company.” 

  • Tesla chairwoman Robyn Denholm urged Australia to embrace the world’s accelerating transition to clean energy and turn its focus from exporting planet-warming fossil fuels to becoming a renewable energy superpower. Denholm, the Australian-born head of the world’s biggest electric vehicles manufacturer, said Tesla was on track to spend more than $1 billion a year on Australian-mined lithium, nickel and other metals needed to make batteries and vehicles, but declared the country was missing out on a far more valuable role in the global supply chain.

  • Chinese iron ore miner Hainan Mining said it will be investing US$164 million in a plant that will produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide as electric vehicle demand rises. In a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange dated 23 August, the company said the facility in Dongfang, Hainan province, in southern China will produce about 20,000 tonnes per year of the material.

  • The Barada Barna Aboriginal Corp. (BBAC), on behalf of the Barada Barna people, has signed a Native Title Project Agreement with BHP Mitsui Coal, a first of its kind between the two, providing “immediate and intergenerational” benefits to the former at the South Walker Creek operation in Queensland. BHP said the agreement, which also offers certainty for both parties, allows for financial benefits for priority community projects that allow for the Barada Barna to live and work on-country, which will strengthen their connection, as well as give them ongoing financial security and non-financial contributions such as contracting, business, employment, education and training. “The agreement will also support for the ongoing development and operation of South Walker Creek mine – including a framework for the parties to work together on cultural heritage management and protecting areas of cultural and environmental significance,” BHP officials said.

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