A new transhipment barge and associated port facilities are now in service on Queensland’s Cape York, opening up exports for two new bauxite mines.
The 1,650 dwt IRONCLAD 1 was designed by Brisbane’s Sea Transport Solutions, and built in China last year for the since-mothballed Ironclad Mining Wilcherry Hill iron ore export project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, which was due to have shipped through a new port at Lucky Bay.
Earlier this year, the newly delivered but unused selfpropelled transhipper was sold by Tyranna Resources (a renamed Ironclad/Trafford joint venture) to Victorian Ferries of Melbourne, and arrived at the Cape York bauxite port of Weipa from China in May.Victorian Ferries is a 10.4% shareholder in Metallica Minerals Ltd, in which the largest stake is held by Jilin Nickel Group, China’s second-largest nickel producer. IRONCLAD 1 is now working as a transhipment vessel at Hey Point, near Weipa on the west coast of Cape York, carrying bauxite on behalf of Green Coast Resources (GCR) and the Cape York HMS & Bauxite Joint Venture (CYHMSB - in which Metallica has a 50% interest) from a new Embley River barge loading facility to bulkers anchored 3.5 km offshore. The first transhipment took place in late October.
GCR’s Hey Point Bauxite Project is said to be the first new independent bauxite mine on Cape York since 1963, while the CYHMSB JV is developing the nearby Urquhart Bauxite Project, expected to begin production in H1 2017.