The Urquhart Bauxite Project is held 50% by Metallica Minerals’ wholly owned subsidiary, Oresome Australia Pty Ltd who is the manager of The Cape York Bauxite and HMS Joint Venture and the remaining 50% is held by a private Chinese investor, Ozore Resources Pty Ltd.
The Project is located 5 km southwest of Weipa on the west coast of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, a region renowned for its extensive deposits of high-quality pisolitic bauxite. The project consists of two bauxite plateaux, known as Area A and Area B, which are wholly contained within the granted Mining Lease.
In 2016 the JV updated the JORC (2012) Resource estimate to 9.5Mt with 6.9Mt being in the Measured and Indicated categories. An additional 8.5Mt of lower grade transitional material, over and above the 9.5Mt has been identified for potential beneficiation through dry screening – this will be investigated further when mining has commenced.
Following the 2016 updated JORC (2012) Resource estimate a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) was completed highlighting that the development of the Urquhart Bauxite Project had the potential to deliver strong financial returns for minimal capital expenditure. The Pre-Feasibility Study was updated again in September 2018.
The PFS and updated PFS were independently prepared by Brisbane-based international consultancy, IMC Mining Pty Ltd (IMC), which also completed the update of the JORC (2012) Resource estimate. London-based independent metals analyst, CRU International, estimated the Free On Board (FOB) USD price of bauxite received utilising the Life of Mine (LOM) schedule produced by IMC.
In 2019, the Joint Venture announced that is was investigating alternative options for shipping the bauxite from the tenement. Three potential logistic options were identified.
Further regulatory and other approvals and development studies are required for all three alternatives and these are planned to be advanced, subject to a positive outcome from an updated PFS for the project which will determine a selected development option. The updated PFS was expected to be completed by the end of March 2020.
On 31 March 2020, the Company announced that it had recommended that the Joint Venture focuses current works in relation to the Urquhart bauxite project on exploring the viability of mining a potential industrial sand product which may lie within the overburden of the bauxite resource.
If the sand units identified in the overburden are a viable industrial sand opportunity, the Company expects it will
- Be highly complimentary to the proposed export bauxite operation;
- Add a number of years to the mine life; and
- Provide a second revenue stream from the proposed operation.
The updated PFS is now on hold while the Industrial Sand opportunity is investigated in more detail.