Quarterly Activities Report
- Group available cash at the end of the quarter was $1.7 million and is currently is about $1.3 million.
- Sales of cement and fertiliser grade bauxites totalled 33,915 tonnes worth in excess of $2.4 million.
- Dr Mark Cooksey, as CEO of ABx's 89%-owned technology subsidiary, ALCORE Limited (Alcore) is driving Alcore's development and commercialisation of a new process for production of aluminium fluoride (AlF3).
- Alcore's Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with the Japanese global trading company Sojitz Corporation (Sojitz), which owns alumina assets in Australia, is already leading to potential business relationship with respect to AlF3.
Sales & Operations
- Shipment of 33,405 tonnes of cement-grade bauxite from Bell Bay port completed on schedule.
- Delivered 509 tonnes of fertiliser grade bauxite from the Bald Hill Bauxite Project at Campbell Town to regularly supply bauxite to the fertiliser plant operated by Impact Fertilisers in Hobart, Tasmania.
- New orders received for fertiliser grade bauxite as agricultural fertiliser demand rises as droughts break
- Binjour Bauxite Project inland from Bundaberg, QLD: issues of mining leases, transport & shipping outlined in early 2020 are consideration by the Office of the Co-ordinator General for early review.
Optimum engineering design of the Mining Lease Application was conducted in the quarter under difficult conditions because of the Queensland border closure.
- Alcore's communications with the Japanese global trading company Sojitz includes assessments of potential customers. Final engineering due diligence will be done once international and interstate travel recommences.
- Alcore has continued achieving milestones in its laboratory. Alcore's business plans are to:
i. Produce AlF3, a high-priced ingredient in aluminium smelters and lithium ion batteries, by refining aluminium smelter waste materials, commercial gibbsite and ABx's gibbsite-rich, clean bauxite;
ii. Be Australia's first domestic producer of AlF3 so as to increase security of supply for Australasian smelters and also to export additional tonnages to other smelters worldwide.
- Alcore's method is the world's first production of AlF3 from the recycling of smelter waste and low-grade bauxite and uses the aluminium-related parts of the CORE Technology (patent application).
- Alcore has now demonstrated repeated production of:
o Fluorine acids from aluminium smelter waste;
o AlF3 from aluminium hydroxide with composition and crystal form meeting commercial specifications;
o AlF3 from aluminium hydroxide and fluorine acids recovered from aluminium smelter waste.
- Alcore has also proven it can:
o Produce AlF3 from bauxite meeting most but not all commercial specifications, at moderate yields that will require adjustment of process settings to optimise. Chemical analyses are performed by CSIRO;
o Prevent key impurities in bauxite from reacting with fluorine reagent mixtures, allowing the impurities to remain as solids that can be separated from the AlF3 solution during processing;
o Manufacture Corethane gas-substitute by reducing ash content in coal from 28% to 0.3%, thus making an ideal, ultra-clean substitute for coke and ideal for industrial heating as a substitute for gas and diesel.
- Alcore is now advancing from laboratory confirmation to an engineering validation program, to confirm process performance and product quality at a larger scale. The majority of the process steps are used in existing commercial processes and so will require limited verification. The few new process steps will involve more intensive testing, likely to involve international specialists and expertise.
- Several potential AlF3 customers have visited the Alcore Research Centre to observe the production of AlF3 from aluminium smelter by-products and are continuing to discuss future joint plans.
COVID-19 Virus Pandemic Response - never give up
- ABx's strict health safety protocols are enforced at all ABx-Alcore facilities in compliance with national and state responses to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Whilst 2 staff members are teleworking from Melbourne, 1 from Adelaide and 1 from Tasmania, ABx continues to meet schedules by working harder, longer and with more determination to succeed no matter what is imposed on our business and people.
- The Alcore research centre is continuing its vital research without losing a shift.
- ABx Group is taking all appropriate steps to protect employees, contractors and customers, the safety of which is paramount. We regularly monitor updates from relevant authorities to keep ahead of potential pandemic threats and have registered the Alcore lab with NSW Health, if needed.
- Contingency plans to support our business and employees until the COVID-19 virus threat passes are in place. Dedicated work by staff is succeeding despite the shameful increasing regulatory burdens.
On-ground exploration was curtailed in Queensland and Tasmania by COVID-19 travel restrictions but continued in NSW as time permitted. Engineering and senior staff costs increased for the Binjour Project and exploration lab research work increased. Direct research and development costs totalling $1,540,000 was recorded in Appendix 5B for ALCORE Limited's mine production costs, research into Aluminium Fluoride technology, bauxite beneficiation and exploration, excluding staff and other administration costs. This level of costs is largely due to the production and profitable sale of bauxite from the Bald Hill Bauxite Project in the Quarter.
Production and Sales: ABx again tested our logistics and mining contractors in delivering a significant cargo of 33,405 tonnes to the port of Bell Bay, northern Tasmania. Mining and screening by Hazell Bros, cartage by Dave Wagner & Son and port services by QUBE Ports all stood the strain and the cargo was on-specification, carted and ship-loaded on time. Many thanks for their efforts during these very difficult times.
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About Australian Bauxite Ltd
Australian Bauxite Limited (ABx) (ASX:ABX) has its first bauxite mine in Tasmania & controls the Eastern Australian Bauxite Province. ABx's 11 bauxite tenements in Queensland, New South Wales & Tasmania totalling 662 km2 are all 100% owned, unencumbered & free of third-party royalties. ABx's bauxite is gibbsite trihydrate (THA) bauxite that can be processed into alumina at low temperature.
ABx has committed a large proportion of its expenditure into Research and Development to find ways to capitalise on the main strengths of its bauxite type which is very clean, free of all deleterious elements and partitioned into layers, nodules, particles and grains of different qualities that can be separated into different product streams using physical, chemical and geophysical methods.
ABx has declared large Mineral Resources in northern NSW, southern NSW, Binjour in central QLD & in northern Tasmania.
ABx's first mine commenced at Bald Hill near Campbell Town, Tasmania in December 2014 - the first new Australian bauxite mine for more than 35 years.
ABx aspires to identify large bauxite resources in the Eastern Australian Bauxite Province and has created significant bauxite development projects in 3 states, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. Its bauxite deposits are favourably located for direct shipping of bauxite to both local and export customers.
ABx endorses best practices on agricultural land, strives to leave land and environment better than we find it. We only operate where welcomed.
Australian Bauxite Ltd