Amrun delivers boost for region
MINING giant Rio Tinto has shipped its first bauxite haul six weeks ahead of schedule from its $2.6 billion Amrun project near Weipa.
At a ceremony on the Western Cape York Peninsula, more than 80,000 tonnes of bauxite was loaded on to the RTM Weipa bound for Rio Tinto's Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone.
The ceremony marking the first shipment was attended by local Wik-Waya traditional owners and representatives of the Western Cape Communities Co-existence Agreement.
Amrun will replace production from the depleting East Weipa mine.
Of the $2.6 billion spent, $1.5 billion was directly invested with Queensland companies, including $244 million with local Cape York companies.
In Cairns close to $24 million was spent directly with 34 local suppliers, ranging from engineering services, to hardware, safety, and electrical equipment suppliers.
During construction 1200 were employed, including 349 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Rio Tinto now employs 1400 people across its sites on the Cape, including 290 who will transfer across to Amrun.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said the mine would ensure jobs for generations on the Western Cape.
"Bringing Amrun online further strengthens our position as a leading supplier in the seaborne market," he said.
"We have the largest bauxite resources in the industry and are geographically well positioned to supply China's significant future import needs, as well as supporting our refinery and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand."
Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the project success would lead to jobs.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Rio Tinto was established as a major player in the Far North economy.
"Rio's commitment to hiring locally was demonstrated with 1200 people employed at peak construction, and since project inception in May 2016, close to 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been employed by the project," he said.
The Amrun site is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 million tonnes a year by 2019.
The shipment is expected to arrive in Gladstone next week.