Cairns miner back in game
THE junior mining company that freely admits its 1700 job, $1.2 billion Cape York bauxite mine was "hit for six" by the former state government's Wild Rivers legislation has declared it is back in the game.
And rather than retiring from progression on its Pisolite Hills project northeast of Weipa, Cape Alumina boss Graeme Sherlock has even bigger plans in mind should things fall his way on the repeal of Wild Rivers by the Newman Government.
Those plans include potentially linking tenements further north at Bauxite Hills, currently undergoing a second level of pre-feasibility study, and putting in a bid for the massive tenements near Aurukun which Chinese mining giant Chalco recently conceded.
"We will be looking at the former Chalco tenements," Mr Sherlock said. "It is all about scale."
Before the Wild Rivers declaration, Pisolite Hills had appeared to going ahead but due to the legislation forbidding development close to the Wenlock River and its tributaries, Cape Alumina declared that to proceed would not be viable.
However, the company never stopped either working on its environmental impact studies nor having discussions with traditional owners.
But it is investigating economy of scale, particularly in regard to trans shipping, between Pisolite and Bauxite Hills.
"If Bauxite Hills pans out that would include opportunities in that area," Mr Sherlock said.
"We are looking at shipping on barges out to larger vessels so we will not have to have a large port.
"So if we can (also) bring Pisolite back on we are looking at the synergies of using one transhipment location."
While declining to formally commit to proceeding with Pisolite Hills, Mr Sherlock said it was under constant review in light of the pending repeal of the Wild Rivers laws.
He said the company had been working closely with the Newman Government and traditional owners in regard to adhering to environmental best practise and to optimise job creation.
"There is no doubt the majority of traditional owners have given their full support as it really creates opportunities for them," Mr Sherlock said.
But should Cape Alumina's existing tenements get the green light for mining, Mr Sherlock would not be drawn on the number of jobs beyond the 1700 already reported.
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Valuable resource: Western Cape York bauxite that has been mined by Cape Alumina workers.