Specifically, the FEED project is part of an Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the expansion of Stage 2 of the Bauxite Hills Mine, approximately 95km north of Weipa, Queensland, Australia.

Rocktree Consulting was deployed in February 2019 to conduct the feasibility study and find the most cost-effective floating terminal solution to increase the mine's competitiveness, through decreasing its transportation costs using large bulk carriers up to cape size.

Metro Mining aims to rise its bauxite exports from the 3.5 million tonnes to the 6 million per year by 2021.

Bauxite ore is the world's primary source of aluminium and has specific guidelines so that it is safely transferred. The largest suppliers of bauxite are Australia, Guinea and Brazil, whereas China is the main buyer.

For the time being, bauxite is exported by smaller, geared self-loading bulk carriers; Yet, the project aims to optimize an on-water transhipment facility capable of loading bauxite on to larger vessels, boosting transhipment volumes and loading rates.

Rocktree is using a software to stimulate the supply chain and acknowledge the operating conditions in the region; Thus, the company has begun a 100m long, 30m wide, 5.5m draught floating terminal design capable of loading up to 3,000t of bauxite per hour.

The terminal will be equipped with a pair of heavy duty four-rope cranes, each operating a scissor-type grab, and a state-of the-art materials handling conveyor and stacker system. This is based on two twin large hoppers with feeder belts and conveyors to transport bauxite to the point of loading. A telescopic ship loader will feed bauxite into ships’ holds.

In addition, the terminal will include an 8,000t buffer storage facility, workshops, accommodation, and power generation units.

All systems installed on the terminal will be optimized for energy efficiency, surpassing and being more improved by the existent safety and environmental regulations that AMSA has set.

The terminal will be designed in line with the Australian, and international maritime regulations and will be constructed according to IACS rules.

Metro Mining Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Simon Finnis commented that

The completion of the feasibility study and selection of Rocktree’s design is a key step in allowing us to build on the outstanding production performance and operating experience gained since the Bauxite Hills started operations in April 2018.