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    Australia bauxite export readies for a competitive year ahead

  • China Aluminium Network
  • Post Time: 2018/2/7
  • Click Amount: 386

    Australian bauxite export market is pegged at around US$30 million in 2018. After reaching an estimated 24 million tonnes in 2017, total bauxite export from the country is expected to total at 21 million tonnes this year.

    An earlier Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) report had predicted that aluminium ore exports (by volume) from the country would rise at a 3.4 per cent year-on-year rate from FY 2017-2018 to FY 2021-2022. However, with Guinea rising as a potential competitor, exports may grow at a relatively slow pace in the medium term.

    A series of ongoing bauxite mining projects paints an optimistic outlook for Australia’s bauxite exports.

    Rio Tinto-owned mines at Gove and Weipa put up a strong operational performance in 2017. Production at Gove was 23 per cent higher than 2016, while production at Weipa was five per cent higher than 2016. Fourth quarter production of 13.8 million tonnes was 14 per cent higher than the corresponding period of 2016. The strong production performance enabled Rio to ship 32.3 million tonnes of bauxite to third parties in 2017.

    The Amrun bauxite project is also advancing as per plan.  The first shipment from the project is scheduled for the first half 2019.

    Alcoa’s Huntly mine in Western Australia, the second largest bauxite mine in the world and Willowdale mine in the same region contributed to the company’s yearly bauxite production of 45.8 million tonnes in 2017, up from 45 million tonnes in 2016, and to the total shipments amounting to 47.7 million tonnes, up from 46.9 million tonnes in 2016. Third party sales of bauxite also rose from US$315 million in 2016 to US$333 million in 2017.

    All these projects are expected to place Australia's bauxite export in a competitive position.

    However, the latest General Customs of China data showed Australia’s bauxite export to China totalled 25.4 million tonnes in the 12-month period of 2017 (+19.6% YoY), which was lesser than 27.6 million tonnes shipped by Guinea during the same time period.

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