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Aurum Exploration Reassesses Plans To Combat Challenges

Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited is exploring options in terms of securing buyers for its bauxite resource. This after the company is targetting to resume bauxite shipment in the first half
24 Dec 2018 10:00
Aurum Exploration Reassesses  Plans To Combat Challenges
Bauxite Mine in Bua, Vanua Levu

Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited is exploring options in terms of securing buyers for its bauxite resource.

This after the company is targetting to resume bauxite shipment in the first half of 2019.

In an interview, the Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Ashneel Sudhakar, said operations have temporarily ceased at Naiviqiri in Bua, due to a lull in bauxite export.

“There are potential buyers but the catalyst for finalising a bauxite sale agreement is the bauxite quality.

“Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited is exploring options in terms of securing buyers for its bauxite resource,” he said.

“Hence, the steps taken by the company is to improve its bauxite beneficiation facility efficiency which should result in improved economic value of bauxite.   “This is due to its improved quality after removal of gangue material.

“Target is to secure a buyer and resume bauxite shipment in the first half of 2019.

“There is no global crisis as such to affect China’s bauxite demand,” he explained.

“The problem is not the global bauxite market but the low quality of in-situ bauxite resource at Naibulu Mine.

“The mining lease holder, Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited had made a business decision to  reassess mine plans as how best to economically extract and process the low grade ore the company had encountered within its mining lease.

“In addition the quality of bauxite is also another considerable factor where the company faces stiff competition from major bauxite exporting countries.”

The company faces competiotion from Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea etc. who have high grade bauxite ore.

“Higher grade bauxite incurs low processing costs which is attractive for the China bauxite market.”

 

Mineral royalty fair share payout

In terms of mineral royalty fair share payout, he said Nawailevu mine landowning units (Mataqali Naicobo and Mataqali Naita) have received their full entitlements for Mataqali members over 18 years of age.

“For those under 18, the department is holding the funds in trust and exploring more feasible options in terms of securing/investing these funds,” he said.

“For Naibulu mine, there are two land tenures – State Land and iTaukei Land.

“For iTaukei Land, the landowning unit or Mataqali Serau  members over 18 have received their payout for the only bauxite shipment this year.

He said this after the mineral royalty payment from Aurum Exploration receipted after the enactment of the Fair Share of Mineral Royalty Act (2018).

“Future royalty fair share payment for Mataqali Serau is dependent on the resumption of bauxite shipment from Naibulu mine.

“For Naibulu mine, the company has a mining lease term of 20 years.

“The company also has, additional two mining leases, mineral exploration tenements within known bauxite prospects in Vanua Levu,” he said.

“As such, bauxite extraction has a lot of potential in terms of future mining projects.

“Future bauxite mining not only hinges on the quality and quantity of in-situ Fiji bauxite.

“But also on the level of bauxite export from high-grade bauxite exporting jurisdictions.

“As well as future aluminium demand from China, which is currently the world’s biggest importer of bauxite.”

 

Shipment update since 2012

Fiji bauxite is shipped to China.

It is the largest bauxite importing country in the world given its high demand for aluminium (final product derived from processing of bauxite).

Since 2012, Aurum Exploration (Fiji) Limited has made a total of 26 shipments to date.

“Out of these 26 shipments, 22 shipments originated from Nawailevu bauxite mine in Bua and four from the Naibulu bauxite mine in Dreketi,” Mr Sudhakar said.

“Since 2012, a total of approximately 1.13 metric tonnes of bauxite exported from Nawailevu mine in Bua and from the Naibulu mine in Dreketi.

“A total of approximately 233,000 tonnes have been exported now with a total gross value of FJ$58.9 million.

“Only one shipment this year was done and that was in February with a total gross value of shipment approximately FJ$2.7 million.”

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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