It was exciting this week to finalise the 2020 Mineral Resource estimate update on the back of the Physical Testing Programme completed by the site team. The update now shows more than 1 billion tonnes of bauxite which is a very large resource by world standards, and it’s worth remembering that this only represents the bauxite of 12 plateaux on our project. As we demonstrated through our metallurgical testing programmes, the latest of which we released to the market last week, the bauxite is also all very high quality bauxite where the contained alumina can be liberated in the Bayer refining process at high recoveries.
We are continuing to improve our resource and metallurgical understanding through the current work program as part of the feasibility study and are also planning on dedicating some resources to further exploration work including whether new ultra-high grade pockets can be identified that can be selectively mined in the future rather than blended. If such pockets can be identified, this could give us flexibility around varying grade profiles for different offtakers in the future.
Our analytical team has been developing a research paper on the European aluminium-alumina-bauxite industry since bauxite has recently been included on the list of critical raw materials for the EU. There are some really interesting elements coming out of this work which we will work with going forward, including Wood Mackenzie’s view that, assuming a moderate deceleration of the global economy, the world still needs some 10 million tonnes of new smelter capacity by 2027, and twice as much alumina refinery capacity, to meet future global demand. This is of course, all fed by good quality bauxite.
On the FS front, this week has seen us progress with scoping out operational readiness requirements as well as diving deeper into the short list of technical partners for certain key areas of the FS.
On site we have a formal visit by the Delegation of Environment so the Camalco team there are demonstrating all the HSE systems we have put in place to ensure our exploration programmes are conducted safely and with appropriate environmental and community sensitivity. Thank you team. J