Prepare, Vanua Levu, to be illegally and treasonously overtaken by Russians and Chinese bauxite miners.
Rusal vets Fiji for alternative bauxite
June 17, 2011
OLEG Deripaska's Rusal, the world's biggest aluminium producer, has given Rio Tinto food for thought on the future mix of bauxite supplies to their Queensland Alumina Ltd joint venture at Gladstone in Queensland.
Rusal has thrown up the potential for Fiji to become a new source of bauxite to cover its needs at the 20 per cent-owned operation in which Rio Tinto owns the remaining 80 per cent.
In meetings this week with Fiji's Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources, a Rusal delegation said the Russian group wanted to explore potential bauxite mining and export opportunities in the country.
QAL is now wholly supplied by bauxite from Rio Tinto's Weipa/Ely operations in Queensland, with the only other regional choice for Rusal being Rio Tinto's Gove operation in the Northern Territory.
Generally, four to six tonnes of bauxite are consumed in the making of a tonne of aluminium.
Rio's control of Australia's north-eastern bauxite/alumina industry became complete in 2007 with its acquisition of Canada's Alcan.
The Fiji option comes as privately held Chinese aluminium group Xinfua and a local group, Aurum, start mining at an initially small-scale bauxite operation at Nawailevu on Vanua Levu, Fiji's second-biggest island.
Xinfua is an 18 per cent shareholder in the ASX-listed Cape Alumina, the group that is planning a development of its Bauxite Hills project on west Cape York, to the north of Rio Tinto's Weipa operation.
Cape Alumina had planned an earlier development of its Pisolite Hills bauxite project on Cape York but that fell victim to Queensland's new laws protecting ''wild rivers''.
Rusal has raised the prospect that it could work with the Xinfua/Aurum partners on developing a new bauxite industry in Fiji. Fiji was last a bauxite producer from operations on Vanua Levu in the 1970s.
Apart from possibly turning to Fiji, Rusal has previously flagged its interest in bauxite mining opportunities in Indonesia and Vietnam, again as an alternative to supplies from the Rio Tinto ''system''.