Rio Tinto has completed commissioning of the A$2.6bn ($1.9bn) Amrun bauxite mine located on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.
The mine is about 40km south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines.
The new project’s mining and port operations replace will production from the company’s existing East Weipa mine.
Rio Tinto plans to increase its annual bauxite export capacity at the new mine by around ten million tonnes. At full production, it will have an annual capacity of 22.8 million tonnes, with options for further expansion.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said: “Amrun was completed early and under budget, demonstrating Rio Tinto’s productivity and innovation capabilities.
“Amrun will provide jobs, support businesses and contribute to growth in the region for the next 50 years, building on A$2.2bn ($1.5bn) of contracts with local, state and national businesses [during construction].”
The Amrun facility is also notable as it was built off-site, in separate modules covering 1km in total length, before being transported to the mine site and assembled.
The facility reduced over-water construction and also increased safety by removing the need for 300,000 work hours that would have been spent working at height.
Rio Tinto secured approval for the Amrun mine, plant and export facility in 2015, with a targeted start date this year. The first shipment was made from Amrun in December last year.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that Weipa’s remaining bauxite production will be used to produce aluminium for applications such as mobile phones, aeroplanes, vehicles and many others across the globe.
Palaszczuk added: “Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine and Weipa operations have secured more than 1,300 jobs for the Cape, including 349 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as jobs at Rio Tinto’s Gladstone refinery.”