Metro Mining to shut mine early as virus chokes sales

Metro Mining’s flagship project, The Bauxite Hills Mine, is located 95kms north of Weipa on Western Cape York.

Metro Mining Ltd said on Friday it would bring forward a planned wet-season shutdown of its flagship bauxite mine, as the covid-19 crisis hit aluminum prices and made it difficult for the bauxite and thermal coal miner to secure sales.

The Bauxite Hills Mine in Queensland is expected to cease shipping ore earlier than usual in mid-September and restart next April, the company said in a statement.

The shutdown will result in most of the workforce being made redundant with only a small crew remaining on site, the Brisbane-based miner said.

Prices of aluminum, like other base metals, have suffered a blow as a result of weaker demand during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. However, the commodity has seen a upswing lately due to a better-than-expected recovery in China, the world’s top metals consumer.

Metro Mining Chief Executive Simon Finnis said the company was “extremely disappointed” that offtake contracts could not be finalised as the pandemic hampered its bauxite marketing and sales programme.

The company has also enforced cost-cutting measures that include a reduction in directors’ fees and senior management salaries.

Metro added that negotiations for bauxite sales were ongoing, and it could reopen the mine later this year if additional sales were secured for 2020 delivery.

(By Arpit Nayak; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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