Great Barrier Reef concern delays Rio’s $1.4bn bauxite mine

The Australian reports Rio Tinto’s $1.4 billion South of Embley bauxite project has been delayed by one year.

The decision comes after a ruling by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that changes the approval process for mining projects that could have an impact on shipping through or near the Great Barrier Reef.

Rio, the world’s number two miner, is scheduled to release an environmental impact assessment for the project – initial construction is slated for 2013, with first bauxite shipments expected in 2016, a year later than originally planned.

The mine is forecast to produce up to 50 million tonnes of bauxite a year at full tilt with the bulk destined for markets in Asia, which would add roughly 60 vessels navigating the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park each year.