Taralga bauxite

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Not knowing much about anything but I wonder why do 'they' want to mine Bauxite there with all its 'Start Up Needs' when there is/was the mine and all the facilities at Weipa which is also closer to China or where ever the ore is shipped for processing ??
But of course, depending on subsidies,funding,tax'es, brown nosing and back patting, its ignore whats there and start anew.
gordon_s1942
Bauxite is still mined near and shipped from Weipa, in a big way, with processing both overseas and in Australia at the two large refineries near Gladstone.

But 'they' (Australian Bauxite Limited) are a completely unrelated company to the owner of Weipa (Rio Tinto), so I'm really not sure why you even think this is relevant.  

(Weipa is also many, many times larger (reserves of ~1.5 billion tonnes) and higher quality than the deposits being discussed here (~40 million tonnes of resource).)

I wonder why you want to live in your house, when somebody unrelated to you is already living in a mansion in a different town?

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Actually I thought Weipa had scaled back operations in recent years as had the production of Alumina but even so, here is an existing facility already in operation and business being business, might be willing to sell their product to another.
With all the attendant difficulties today with the environmental  protection and planning approvals needed to start from scratch for a new mine, along with building all the needed infrastructure which takes time and cost, it could be a viable alternative to consider buying elsewhere.
I dont know where you live but I am on the border of the NSW Coal Fields and have seen one long established running Coal mine forced to close for over 3 months, standing down (300) all but basic staff while they waited for an extension of their Mining lease to be approved.
Another 'Open Cut' not 20 kms away was forced to close completely because of being refused permission to extend their working area as the current one was near worked out.
A third mine has managed to get their requested approval passed in time to avoid its closure as they began to run out of coal.
Much opposition to mining is from Groups who for no other reason just simply oppose mining in any form along with those concerned with the environment and the use of roads for transport and although many in each group dont care for the others ideals, they will and do band together 'for the Common Cause'.
Recently a new gravel quarry has opened up locally but it took a number of years after much opposition before approval was granted to allow it to be opened.
At this time a Gravel quarry is seeking approval in a rural area 11 kms from Bathurst and although the Council appears to have approved in principle for it to go ahead, those who live nearby and affected by the Quarry are beginning to voice their Opposition and I wonder how those in the Taralga area where this mine is proposed are for or against its development???

Back in the late 1990's a Gravel Quarry was proposed not too far from me in an area I thought wasnt suitable along with some other reasons and I added my opposition to its opening and it never did.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Actually I thought Weipa had scaled back operations in recent years as had the production of Alumina but even so, here is an existing facility already in operation and business being business, might be willing to sell their product to another.
gordon_s1942
No, and the refineries that process Weipa bauxite have been expanded over recent years (one of them is only just over ten years old).  There have been refinery related closures at other operations (e.g. Gove).

Not all bauxite is bauxite - the specific minerals that hosts the aluminium oxide within the ore varies, which can vary the conditions needed for the initial digestion in the refinery, and different refineries have different tolerances for the other rubbish that might be mixed in.

But that aside, what you are suggesting makes no sense.  A business will sell its product to the buyer that is willing to pay the most.  If you had a customer that wanted to buy bauxite, why would Weipa sell the bauxite to you first, rather than just talking direct to the customer?  

The whole idea of developing these deposits is that they want, in some small way, to become a competitor to existing suppliers, perhaps by focussing on a particular segment of the market.  No different from someone setting up a competing grocery store, or butcher, or baker, in a world where there are already quite a few existing stores.

I am well aware of the requirements for getting a new mining (or related project) off the ground in NSW, and in other Australian jurisdictions.  I live in the Hunter.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Yarwun, the newer refinery in Gladstone doubled in size in last 5 years although the project went on go slow.
QAL the older one and until about 10 years back largest in world is always trying to squeeze more out
Weipa has also been selling more bauxite directly to OS (read China)

Alumina refineries are normally built to process a particular type of bauxtie. There is pressure and temperature increases to crack the more complex bauxtie. Weipa I understand is not the lowest temp and pressure but its overall quality and huge resource makes it a prime target.

Gove is easier to process, but after ALCAN blew billions on the refinery in upgrades, RTA couldn't make it pay with high oil $ and $A. I wonder if the situation is still negative? Problem is the non-chinese aluminium smelter market is on its knees thanks to China and demand is probably declining as smelters close. For example we lost Kurri Kurri and Point Henry last 3 years, almost 1mtpa of alumina, not huge and about 1/4 of the output of Gove, but one less reason to make it here.

A very large smelter recently built in Saudi will have its own refinery and bauxite mine running very soon. About 3/4 that of Gove.

UAE has two very large smelters and they are currently building refinery in the UAE (Australian's make the bulk of the leadership) and will shortly start another refinery in Guinea where the bauxtie is supposed to come from. The refinery in UAE will be built to run on most ores to give security of supply. Both UAE, Guinea and KSA refineries are built on the Yarwun design, RTA having sold the drawings.

There is more production planned for Weipa

http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/bn-bauxite-mine-near-weipa-on-target-to-start-next-year/story-fnpqpqp5-1227360660064

Some fun facts

http://www.australianminesatlas.gov.au/aimr/commodity/bauxite.html
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Production at Weipa has been averaging around 26-million tonnes for the last five years.
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong
Bauxite from Weipa is not the same as NSW. To compare is like comparing Victorian brown coal with Lithgow LA coal.

Weipa Bauxite is of high silica content and is classified as low-medium quality. It requires processing and refinement before it is sold.  One tonne of mining in Taralga is like mining 10 tonne in Weipa.

Bauxite found in NSW Southern Highlands is about the highest grade in the world, classifed as DSO (Direct Shipping Ore) which can be loaded in and exported directly. It also burns at a lower tempurature making it a lot less expensive to process.

There is a number of reasons why this project is on hold, one being transport. The company was promised berthing space at Pt Kembla when the port was purchased by the NSW Governement, who promised AB a space on the outer harbour by 2015. However that is now pushed out to 2017.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Knowing all Coal aint Coal, I can understand that if the Taralga area produces a higher quality material as has been stated then its easy to see why its being sought.
I thought only the raw material was being mined here and it was to be shipped 'Elsewhere' for processing and now I see the smelter needs to be proficient to handle that grade of ore.
Part of my line of thinking was until I knew of the quality differences, how big are the Bauxite deposits in Queensland and if its all leased or are there some areas still available for other to mine.

Unfortunately only time will tell if this project is a 'Flier' or just an other 'Run it up the Flagpole and see if anyone salutes' which has been the subsequent fate of many in the past.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Production at Weipa has been averaging around 26-million tonnes for the last five years.
Sulla1
Gladstone would be chewing up 16mt of that.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Knowing all Coal aint Coal, I can understand that if the Taralga area produces a higher quality material as has been stated then its easy to see why its being sought.
I thought only the raw material was being mined here and it was to be shipped 'Elsewhere' for processing and now I see the smelter needs to be proficient to handle that grade of ore.
Part of my line of thinking was until I knew of the quality differences, how big are the Bauxite deposits in Queensland and if its all leased or are there some areas still available for other to mine.

Unfortunately only time will tell if this project is a 'Flier' or just an other 'Run it up the Flagpole and see if anyone salutes' which has been the subsequent fate of many in the past.
gordon_s1942
You mean refinery, all alumina refinery's make roughly the same final product and smelters are not designed for a specific refinery, although it does affect the process and costs to some degree.

QAL makes low Na/Ca product, which saves the smelters money, lots of money as otherwise it needs to be neutralised with AlF3 at $1500/t and makes a near worthless waste product.

The difference is that at Wepia you need a benfication plant to remove the excess dirt, adds to cost of production but not that much and in that area, with gigantic deposits sitting under the grass roots about 5m deep and ore extraction costs so low its not too bad.

Most bauxite or processed bauxite is shipped at ~4:2:1 ratio. ie 4 t to make, 2t of alumina to make 1t of aluminium metal.

The difference between Wepia and most southern deposits is the shear volumes up north vs many of the southern deposits and why they haven't been touched in the past. RTA is only the longest and probably the largest lease holder, there are others and they will build in near future as most of the Cape contains bauxite which is part of the reason the farming up there is crap. I posted a link before.

China's bauxite is generally hard, high cost production.

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