Emerging bauxite development company, Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX:ABZ) is drilling ahead of schedule in Tasmania at Bauxite Deposit DL-130 located 65km south-south-west of Bell Bay deepwater port in a privately owned plantation that is under harvest. Thicker than expected bauxite has been encountered up to 6 metres thick over a wide area which suggests that with this project could commence production earlier than anticipated with minimal impacts, returning the land to plantation timber after extracting the surface layer of bauxite and replacing the thin soil layer.
Australian Bauxite CEO Ian Levy said; "ABx invested in Tasmania after careful consideration of risks and potential rewards based on expert advice and an understanding of Tasmania's special circumstances.
"We believe that with goodwill and common sense, ABx can develop a sustainable project in Tasmania. Our discovery of thick bauxite in viable locations near deepwater ports augers well for an early commencement of a bauxite extraction and export business from Tasmania."
Central Northern Tasmania has good infrastructure, with an operating rail line passing through the bauxite areas as well as heavy haulage highways. Both rail and road link directly to efficient operating mineral export ports at Burnie and Bell Bay that have spare port capacity (Figure 2, see link below).
Tasmania has a well-developed electric power grid based mainly on hydroelectric power and has ample water supplies. Natural gas from the Bass Strait field is distributed throughout Tasmania and there are many well-established population centres.
Tasmania has a proud mining heritage. Coal mining occurs in the Fingal Valley area east of the main bauxite areas and large cement works are operating in the area south of Devonport to the west of the bauxite areas. The Bell Bay aluminium smelter is operated by Rio Tinto Alcan (see Figure 2).
Central Northern Tasmania has some of Australia's best steel fabrication and heavy machinery workshops as well as highly experienced earth moving, transport and construction contractors.
In summary, the Tasmanian bauxite project areas in central northern Tasmania are supplied with power, water, communications and transport infrastructure, near industrial centres serviced by efficient mineral export ports that operate all year round without seasonal interruptions.
Based on results to date from 334 drill holes & 1,521 samples, it is estimated that ABx can produce direct shipping bauxite ("DSO") comprising gibbsite which is the premium low-temperature aluminatrihydrate mineral. All of ABx bauxites are free of the refractory, high-temperature monohydrate alumina mineral called boehmite and levels of the deleterious reactive silica are very low. These characteristics makes the DSO bauxite ideal for sweetener bauxite circuits or as feedstock into lowtemperature alumina refineries.
Note that there is often an upper layer of PDM-DSO bauxite comprising about 30% pebble-sized grains of a black, glass-like alumina spinel which is emery-like and called "PDM". It is saleable as bauxite in high temperature alumina refineries or extracted by simple gravity methods and used for higher-priced industrial products such as an abrasive or a source of alumina in nearby cement plants.
Note that the bauxite outlines shown in Figure 3 as red dashes are based on surface mapping and sampling of the easily accessible areas only. (Figure 3, see link below).
Other bauxite targets have been identified in this area using the company's proprietary exploration technology but still require ground-truthing by sampling and drilling.
View the complete Australian Bauxite announcement including Figures, please click the link below: