A 62,000 tonne shipment of bauxite from a new Queensland mine has left Australian shores as part of a four-year export deal with one of China’s largest aluminium companies.

The shipment is the first export from the new Bauxite Hills Mine north of Weipa, operated by Metro Mining Limited.It is destined for the Xinfa Group in Shandong, China.

Mining commenced in April at Bauxite Hills, which has an estimated ore reserve of 92.2Mt and an estimated mine life of 17 years.

Commenting on the first shipment, Metro Mining Managing Director Simon Finnis said Xinfa was one of China’s major aluminium producers and the four-year deal would deliver jobs and other economic benefits for Queensland.

‘Xinfa has significant refining and smelting operations in Shandong, Shanxi, Guangxi and Xinjiang provinces, and is a major company in the aluminium business,’ Mr Finnis said.

‘Importantly, the Bauxite Hills Mine provides ongoing opportunities for locals and the Far North Queensland region as a whole.

‘We are committed to furthering Indigenous opportunities through employment and training, and in the longer term fostering initiatives for business creation.

‘We are also committed to investing in the region wherever possible through goods and services, and the state benefits through royalties.’

The bauxite shipment sailed on 7 May from Skardon River port on the Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel Spring Oasis.

Metro’s media release on the shipment notes that bauxite was loaded from site to ship at an average rate of more than 7,000 tonnes per day, and the company expects to reach its 2018 target average of 10,000 tonnes per day by the end of June.

Located 95km north of Weipa, Bauxite Hills is Metro’s flagship project and is one of the largest independent projects in the renowned bauxite region.

Aluminium is widely used in global automotive, manufacturing, building and industrial industries.

The mineral resources sector is identified as one of the state’s traditional export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.