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Uncertainty over future bauxite supplies from Indonesia to supply the growing Chinese demand is driving interest in new bauxite projects elsewhere, particularly Australia, according to a new study from Roskill. The Queensland government recently announced a shortlist of five bidders for the Aurukum Bauxite resource on the Cape York Peninsula, which includes key players in the bauxite industry: Rio Tinto, Chalco (Aluminium Corp of China) and Glencore International. The other bidders are two consortia, Australia Indigenous Resources Ltd and the Cape Alumina Consortium.
The project was previously won by Chalco, but the development agreement for a 6.5 Mtpy bauxite mine and 2.1 Mtpy alumina refinery lapsed in 2010. It reportedly fell apart under the economic climate and the state’s insistence that both the mine and refinery were required, but now options for large- or small-scale developments are being considered. A decision on the future of the project is expected by the end of the year.
With new alumina production capacity planned in China, demand for bauxite is forecast to rise over the next five years, and China will continue to rely on imports to meet its requirements. A number of other expansion and resource evaluation projects are under way, with several in Australia, as well as in India, Guinea, Brazil and Vietnam.
For additional information, visit www.roskill.com.