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Metro Mining provides update on its Bauxite Hills operations

Published by , Assistant Editor
Global Mining Review,

Metro Mining Ltd (Metro) is pleased to provide an update on operations at the Bauxite Hills mine. After a delay due to a late cyclone, operations have recommenced for the 2019 operating year and activities relating to the expansion of production in 2019 are complete. The installation of duplicate screening infrastructure at the port was on time and while integration of new 7000 t barges and triple-set trailers was slightly delayed, their addition has resulted in a demonstrable increase in production levels.

Mining activities

Daily mining rates were initially hindered by the wet conditions and delays to the delivery of the new triple trailers. Focus on mining from the BH1 deposit located 25 km from the port also caused limitations to haulage operations.

However, with commissioning of the new triple-trailer sets mining rates have increased significantly and have been consistently between 12 000 and 14 000 tpd. Further increases are anticipated as the June mining plan dictates that bauxite will also be mined from the BH6 deposit, located only 6 km from the port.

Transhipment and shiploading activities

Transhipment and shiploading activities commenced on 13 April. Bauxite Hills has a nominal 8 - 9 month operating season and to achieve guidance an average ship-loading rate of 13.5 Kt per day is required. This rate was being achieved in mid to late-May following commissioning of the new 7000 t barges, and increased ore availability from increased mining and haulage rates. However, towards the end of May, unexpected large and sustained swell conditions caused by an unusual southeasterly wind pattern resulted in disruption to shiploading.

Such long and sustained swell events are unusual during Metro’s operating season and has reduced daily loading rates during the affected period. It should be noted that mining and haulage has been unaffected resulting in stockpiles in excess of 100 Kt of bauxite either loaded onto barges or located at the port facility. Given the transhipping rates being achieved in late May Metro anticipates that some (but not all) of the June quarter production shortfall can be recovered during the remainder of the 2019 operating season. The expectation is that the previous June quarter production guidance will likely be missed by approximately 220 - 240 Kt. Therefore, it is appropriate to update Metro’s 2019 Production Guidance to 3.3 -3.5 million t which incorporates an allowance during the year for adverse swell conditions. Our expectation is that swell conditions will revert back to what was experienced during 2018. A further update will be provided in the June quarterly production report. Metro’s Managing Director and CEO Simon Finnis said: “Whilst these weather events are frustrating, I am really pleased to see how the operations are now performing following commissioning of all elements of the expansion and upgrade programme. We remain committed to achieving our updated 2019 Production Guidance”.

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