by Emma Reid
EXCITING times could lie ahead ahead for the Port of Bundaberg with the Binjour Bauxite Project work underway to secure export contracts for the raw material that aluminium is made from from our shores.
If the plan for the new mine north-west of Gayndah gets the go ahead, it will mean more jobs for Bundaberg and the Wide Bay region.
Emerging bauxite producer Australian Bauxite Limited (ABx) announced it has made an application in conjunction with its marketing partner, Rawmin, an Indian mining company that also exports bauxite in bulk, for a Regional Jobs and Investment grant to commence the Binjour Bauxite Project.
Securing export contracts is essential to get the mine, which will be 115km from the port, up and running.
The mine will employee an estimated of 16 site employees plus 29 transport contractors, a total of 45 direct jobs.
ABx CEO Ian Levy said the project was currently finding a buyer of the product and the project was at an early evaluation stage.
Mr Levy said everything was looking positive with interest from two Indian customers already.
"Nothing is cheap and we've put up some serious hurt money, that this project warrants, into it" he said.
"We are giving it our best shot and the timing is just right."
He said Rawmin was already mining high-grade bauxite, similar to the Binjour site, in India.
"Binjour is ABx's largest and highest grade bauxite project with 28 million tonnes of high grade trihydrate gibbsite bauxite at Binjour and Toondoon," Mr Levy said.
"This project needs long-term sales contracts with reliable customers to underpin its economic viability.
"Marketing partner Rawmin has commenced negotiations with potential customers in several countries on our behalf."
The resources are sufficient for 15 to 20 years of exports but there were many known occurrences of bauxite in the district so the company planned for at least 25 to 30 years of operation, Mr Levy said.
He said the opportunity to work with Rawmin was substantial because Binjour could supply bauxite during Queensland's dry season, which was the wet season in India.
Now and the future was about working together and transferring ideas between the two companies, Mr Levy said.
"Information will flow both ways - it will be cross pollination," he said.
Bundaberg port's is of a similar size and scope to the Port of Porbandar in Gujurat, India, where Rawmin exports bulk bauxite.
"We are very interested in how to load very large ships in a small port," Mr Levy said.
"Rawmin exports bauxite in large capacity vessels carrying greater than 65,000 tonnes.
"Our ports are almost identical and Rawmin has invited the Bundaberg port over to take note on how this can be done."
Staff from the two companies have met with local mayors including Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Mr Levy said the region had left a good impression on the Indian company with its "too easy mate, we can do it" attitude.
He said Bundaberg was famous for many specialist products and he hoped to add bauxite to the list.
Mr Levy said a definitive commitment should be made by mid-next year.