Australian Bauxite Limited has put its Tasmanian bauxite mine into care and maintenance after failing the secure a buyer for the first shipment.
The Bald Hill bauxite mine near Campbell Town – the first bauxite mine to open in Australia for 35 years – was expected to provide the region with enormous economic benefits amid favourable market conditions caused by the worldwide shortage for the commodity.
The company expected to mine around 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite, the main ingredient in aluminium, and ship it through Bell Bay for both domestic and international markets.
“ABx and its marketing partner RawMin are continuing negotiations with potential bauxite customers in China, India, the Middle East, Australia and elsewhere. Negotiations in China have been frustrated by the large inventories of cheap Malaysian bauxite that have been accumulated by the Chinese refineries over the past 5 months,” Australian Bauxite said in a statement to the ASX.
“ABx cash-at-hand is approximately $1.3 million as of today and ABx is taking steps to conserve cash until a sale of its maiden shipment is achieved. This includes a temporary suspension of production and haulage of bauxite products from its Bald Hill Bauxite Project at Campbell Town, Tasmania at the end of this week until sales commence.”
The company began mining at Bald Hill about a year ago and employed around 30 people.
Tasmanian Acting Minister for Resources Rene Hidding said that the State Government of Tasmania had ongoing discussions with Australian Bauxite in an attempt to assist the company to resolve the situation, however nothing could be done due to the unfavourable conditions on the market.
“While this development is regrettable, the mine will continue to be maintained at an operational level pending a secure sale. The Government will continue to work with Australian Bauxite through the care and maintenance period to do what we can to assist the company and workers through this difficult period,” the Minister said.