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The Skardon River mine in Queensland is located at the north western side of the York Peninsula about 80 kilometres north of Weipa. It had, up until recently, been operated by Minerals Corporation Limited for the mining of kaolin. However, Minerals Corporation Limited was placed into voluntary administration in June 2010 and kaolin mining at the site was forced to cease. The tenement has subsequently been acquired by Gulf Alumina in October 2012, for the development of a bauxite mine at the site. Gulf Alumina therefore inherited all the infrastructure previously owned by Minerals Corporation Limited, which includes; a village, power generation and distribution and all its associated civil works, access roads and haulage, port wharf and airstrip, as well as the Skardon River mine and its leases.

Koalin Processing Plant to be Dismantled

The kaolin processing plant and mine at Skardon River had, up until the time of liquidation, been producing samples of kaolin for exploitation in the Australian export market. There remains a large reserve of high grade kaolin at the mine. Kaolin is widely used in the ceramic and pharmaceutical industry as well as in the manufacturing of cosmetics, polymer, concrete, paint and paper. A specific type of cement had been developed to meet the demands of the Asian markets with a new koalin product known as 'kaocem. Unfortunately, most of the equipment used in the production of these products will be removed from the site while the new developer concentrates on the mining of bauxite for the Chinese market.

Chinese Aluminium Producer to Take all Bauxite Mined at Skardon River Mine

To assist Gulf Alumina with the funding of the bauxite mining project at Skardon River, Chinese aluminium producer, Shandong Nanshan Aluminium Company Limited, has agreed to take 100 percent of the bauxite produced at the mine. It has been estimated the mine can produce 1.5 million tonnes of bauxite a year initially, increasing this to 3 million tonnes annually once it gets up and operating over the next 10 to 15 years. The bauxite will be taken by barge down the Skardon River and loaded onto bulk carriers moored offshore for transportation to Chinese refineries.

Large Bauxite Reserves at Skardon River

Intitial drilling to prove up the bauxite reserve at Skardon River started in late 2007, further drilling was carried out in each of the following two years until it was finally decided, in February 2010, the resource at the site exceeded 50 million tonnes. Development of the project has also entailed detailed engineering planning and intense negotiation with landowners before an Environmental Management Plan could get governmental approval. Contracts then had to be arranged regarding shipping, river barging, contract mining and civil works. The company also had to design and build a beneficiation facility while creating a transport and loading corridor along the river that could handle bauxite volumes much greater than the initial productions levels as it is expected further drilling will prove a greater bauxite reserve that that presently known.

Kaolin put Aside but not Forgotten

Although the substantial reserves of Kaolin are not the focus of the current development taking place at Skardon River the company has not ruled out looking at its commercial viability at a later date.

Gulf Alumina

with several projects , gulf alumina is a player in australian bauxite mining


Gulf Alumina
level 5, 12 Oconnell Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

level 5, 12 Oconnell Street
Sydney, NSW 2000


Phone02 9221 4689
fax02 9221 4686

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