The Queensland government announced in late August that Glencore International has been selected as the “Preferred Proponent” to develop the Aurukun bauxite deposit on the western Cape York Peninsula in north Queensland, Australia. The specifics of a project development agreement remain to be finalized. Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said should a satisfactory agreement be reached, Glencore is expected to begin a feasibility study in 2015.

“Our objective as a state government has always been clear—to improve employment, health, and educational opportunities for the people of Aurukun by unlocking the economic potential of this valuable bauxite deposit,” Seeney said. “After continuing discussions with a number of parties, the Queensland government considers Glencore is best placed in terms of both technical capability and financial strength to successfully take on this challenging development.

“Selecting Glencore as Preferred Proponent is our best opportunity to see this resource developed and to provide economic benefits not only for the people of Aurukun and Cape York Peninsula, but for all Queenslanders.

“As I have said previously, our government is determined to avoid the mistakes of the past, where companies were granted rights but were later unable to deliver on the commitments they made.”

The Queensland Resources Council congratulated Glencore on its selection, and Council Chief Executive Michael Roche remarked that the job-creating potential of the project was welcome news for Queensland, the state’s Far North region, and especially the Aurukun community.

“Cape York needs industry development to deliver jobs and the improved economic and social outcomes that flow from them,” Roche said. “The Cape has vast potential, but a recent history of stop-start development proposals has eroded local community confidence. By selecting a tier-one resources company such as Glencore as preferred proponent, the state government is giving the Aurukun project every opportunity for success.”

The Australian national government’s Australian Atlas of Minerals Resources, Mines & Processing Centres describes Aurukun as “the largest undeveloped bauxite deposit in Queensland, with a historical (i.e., not compliant with the JORC Code) resource estimated to be 614.8 million mt. Another three deposits just north of the Aurukun area were estimated in 1973 to contain an additional 73.2 million mt of bauxite.”