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New $2.6 billion bauxite mine to spread wealth throughout Queensland

8 March 2019

Australia’s newest bauxite mine near Weipa will help keep our nation in the world’s number one position in the production of bauxite and exports of aluminium.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan attended today’s event which marked the official commissioning of Rio Tinto’s Amrun mine, which will provide high-quality material for alumina refineries in Queensland and overseas markets.

“We are already the world’s biggest bauxite producer and alumina exporter, and product from the Amrun site is expected to boost our bauxite export capacity by 10 million tonnes per year,” Minister Canavan said.

“The higher-grade bauxite being mined at Amrun is becoming scarcer around the world, and at the same time, world consumption of alumina is forecast to escalate in coming years.

“These factors will underpin the future success of the operation, which is expected to have a 50 year life span.

“I’m particularly pleased to see a strong Indigenous presence in the workforce with close to 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed on the project since its inception.

“These are the types of opportunities that give Traditional Owners the chance to build long term successful careers that support their families and communities for decades to come.

“Rio Tinto’s aluminium activities support more than 5,500 jobs around the country, including 1,400 roles in north Queensland and another 2,000 or so in the Gladstone region, so the Amrun project will help funnel wealth, jobs and prosperity to all corners of Queensland.

“The development of Queensland’s bauxite resources is a fabled part of our great state’s history. It was this development that spurred the growth of Gladstone as an aluminium powerhouse, and the creation of the best port in Australia.

“Australia should not just export bauxite but refine it into higher valued products like alumina and aluminium. To do that we must harness our clean coal resources too. Together, bauxite and coal deliver thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in wealth and a strong manufacturing sector to Australia.

“What is concerning is that in the past decade electricity prices have doubled in Australia. As a result, while Australia has doubled its exports of bauxite in the past decade, our exports of aluminium have fallen by 40 per cent.

“If Labor continues its war on coal that will be the end of our great aluminium industry and the thousands of jobs that rely on it.

“Labor’s war on mining is also a war on our factories.

“Resources contributed almost $63 billion to Queensland’s economy in 2017-18, and one in every eight jobs. This new project will build on that success.”

The December Resources and Energy Quarterly publication forecasted Australia’s aluminium and alumina exports to be steady through to 2019–20, at 1.4 million tonnes and over 17 million tonnes per year respectively.

Australia’s bauxite exports are forecast to increase from 32 million tonnes in 2018–19 to 36 million tonnes in 2019–20.

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180