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AM Prices News Reports Database Statistics Marketplace Directories   Events Photostream Interviews Base Metals China’s demand for imported bauxite will continue to Minor Metals increase and Australian bauxite has its own merits ­­­­Interview with Mr. Simon Finnis, CEO of Metro Mining Limited Ferroalloys Metro Mining Limited is an exploration and mining company based in Brisbane, Australia.

The  company  emerged  from  Metro  Coal  Ltd’s  2014  takeover  of  Cape  Alumina  Ltd.  Its Rare Earths immediate focus is on the Bauxite Hills Project in Western Cape York.

Carbon Steel Stainless & Special Asian Metal: Since November, China’s alumina market has been moving down, resulting in a decline in imported bauxite prices, including material from Malaysia, India and Australia. What are your thoughts about bauxite price movement in 2016? Will it affect progress on your Steel Raw Materials bauxite project?

Refractories Simon: While the bauxite price has flattened in 2015, and may continue into 2016, we feel the demand is still strong, so we expect pricing to firm late in 2016 and be stronger again in 2017. Our Bauxite Hills Project is advancing towards being operational late in 2017, we feel that timing will meet a rising market, both in price and demand.

Asian Metal: In 2015, China’s demand for imported bauxite improved significantly. What is your opinion on how demand will develop in the next two years?

USD 659.22 HKD 84.42 Simon: Not unlike Rio Tinto we feel that bauxite demand, particularly good quality Weipa bauxite from a stable country like Australia, and EUR 719.42 JPY 5.6273 from a professional and experienced mining company like Metro Mining, will continue to grow.

GBP 940.26 CHF 656.4 CAD 454.16 AUD 451.91 Asian Metal: According to China Customs, from January to October 2015, China imported around 16.4 million tonnes of bauxite from Australia, lagging behind the 18 million tonnes of Malaysian bauxite. Do you think Australian bauxite supplies will rise next year? What are the merits of Australian bauxite compared with bauxite from other countries?

Simon: Our potential Chinese customers continue to tell us that the most important thing to them is a sizeable, long term, stable supply of good quality bauxite. What Australia, and Weipa bauxite miners in particular can offer, is large resources of well understood bauxite quality, that offers little variability from shipment to shipment, and from year to year. While improving lately with the advent of washing, bauxite from Malaysia continues to be of varied quality. Similar problems exist with bauxite supplied from India. This variability provides operational difficulties for the alumina refineries, detrimentally affecting recoveries of alumina. Very generally, this is one of the main reasons the average price of bauxite fell in early 2015, because the quality of delivered bauxite was poor, and the value in use of the product from Malaysia was lower. As the quality is improving, so is the price.

Asian Metal: Regarding the Metro bauxite project in Australia, what is its location? What information do you have on the reserves there?

Simon: Bauxite Hills is located 95km north of Weipa, on western Cape York, in far north Queensland, Australia. Bauxite Hills has 48.2Mt of reserves of Direct Shipment Ore (DSO) grading 50.2% total Al2O3 and 6.4% reactive silica (at 150oC).

Asian Metal: What about the infrastructure construction, such as ports, roads, etc.?

Simon: While there is little in the way of current infrastructure, our recent Definitive Feasibility Study (released to the Australian Stock Exchange on 5 November 2015) detailed that we would construct all required infrastructure, including a barge loading facility, all site roads and accommodation requirements, for the modest capital cost of A$33.9M. This low capital requirement and our low cost operating concept

has led to excellent financial outcomes detailed in the table below:

–  –  –

Asian Metal: When will Metro be able to produce and export bauxite? What will be the specifications?

Simon: We anticipate being in production towards the end of 2017. The presentation I recently delivered at our Annual General Meeting explains all the timing details.

Asian Metal: Compared with other potential bauxite projects in Australia, what are Metro’s advantages and competiveness?

Simon: Our project has several advantages over other potential bauxite producers, namely:

Bauxite Quality – It is high grade bauxite, from a world class bauxite producing district. It is high in recoverable alumina, and is well known to Chinese customers due to its similarities to other Weipa produced bauxite. It is a DSO product so there is little requirement for processing, meaning low infrastructure requirements and low capital and operating costs.





Location – Being in north Queensland means we are extremely close (only ten steaming days) to the Chinese consumers in Shandong province. This gives us a significant competitive advantage over other, more distant Australian producers, and of course, producers from other parts of the world.

Geology – The bauxite is on the surface, and is free digging, so there is no blasting, and the mining process is extremely simple. This has led to a very low mining cost concept, that then provides excellent return to investors.

Development and Operating Strategy – The simplicity of the project means the construction time is short at six months, so the project would feasibly be in production in the same year as our environmental approvals are received. This, combined with the low capital intensity, means a very short payback period of just over a year.

Asian Metal: Does your team have any kind of successful mining experience?

Simon: Please see the biographies of our Board and senior management below – they speak for themselves. In short, we have experience in developing and operating over 30 projects in Australia and worldwide, in a diverse range of commodities and mining methods.

–  –  –

Lindsay Ward – Non­executive director Lindsay Ward has over 25 years’ broad industry experience holding executive positions in mining, exploration, mineral processing, ports, rail, power generation, gas transmission and logistics. Mr Ward's previous mining experience includes Mine Manager of the Yallourn Energy open cut coal mine in Victoria and senior mining engineering positions with BHP Australia Coal in Queensland and Camberwell Coal in the Hunter Valley. Mr Ward is currently CEO of the Tasmanian Gas Pipeline, a gas transmission pipeline that links Victoria to Tasmania and transports gas throughout Tasmania. Mr Ward was previously Managing Director of Dart Mining, a Melbourne based exploration company. Prior to this he was General Manager, Patrick Ports and Pacific National Bulk Rail (a business unit within Asciano Limited).

Jijun Liu – Non­executive director

Mr Jijun Liu is the Managing Director of the China Xinfa Group Corporation Limited which controls one of the largest alumina­aluminium enterprises in China. Mr Liu is also a member of various government committees. He studied thermal power plant engineering at Shandong Power Junior College.

Dongping Wang – Non­executive director

Mr Dongping Wang graduated from the China Mining University in 1981 with a Major in Coal Processing Technology. Mr Wang was Process Plant Manager and later Director of Operations at Pingshuo Antaibao coal mine for many years (a World Bank funder USA and China joint venture project). Mr Wang then worked for a time in the China Coal Ministry. He later became General Manager of Long­Airdox (Tianjin) where from 1997 he was instrumental in introducing modern coal process technology from Australia to China. Mr Wang was General Manager of Schenck (Tianjin) until 2007. He then helped establish the Dadi Engineering Group (now China's largest coal industry engineering group) and is now Chairman of Dadi Engineering Development Group. Mr Wang Dongping has worked at the highest level within the Chinese coal industry for 30 years and is a highly renowned coal processing expert and a prominent figure in the Chinese coal industry.

George Lloyd – Non­executive director

George Lloyd has over 30 years’ resource industry experience including senior executive and board member roles of listed and unlisted companies with interests in minerals, energy, industry services and corporate finance. Mr Lloyd’s extensive experience in resources includes five years as Chairman of Cape Alumina Limited. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ausenco Limited and Pryme Energy Limited. Prior to 2015, Mr Lloyd served as Chairman of AWR Lloyd, an Asian­based firm providing mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, industrial research and investor relations advisory services to the mining and energy industries throughout Asia and Australia. Mr Lloyd holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science Degree (Industrial Engineering) and a Master of Business Administration Degree, both from the University of New South Wales. He is also a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program. Mr Lloyd is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

Management Team of Metro Mining Limited Simon Finnis – Chief Executive Officer Simon was previously CEO of Grand Cote Operations in Senegal, his primary responsibilities being to oversee construction and bring the Grand Cote Mineral Sands project into operations. In a mining industry career spanning over 28 years, Simon has worked throughout Australia in underground and open cut mining operations. His previous roles have included the re­opening of the Mt Lyell Mine in 1994 and 1995, re­development of the CSA Mine between 1998 and 2001, and then the development of the Pooncarie Mineral Sands project from feasibility through to operations from 2001 to 2007. Simon held the role of Operations Manager during the final years of his involvement at Pooncarie. Simon therefore has considerable experience through feasibility, construction, commissioning and operations of both new and brown fields operations. Simon holds a Masters in Business and Technology from the University of New South Wales.

Scott Waddell – Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

Prior to joining Metro Mining, Scott was Head of Finance for the Monash Energy project in Victoria’s La Trobe valley. Scott's resources experience was gained over nine years with Anglo Coal and eight years with Rio Tinto Alcan in a wide variety of senior roles across multiple sites. Scott has a deep understanding of the global bauxite and resources sectors. Scott holds a Bachelor of Business from the Queensland University of Technology and is a Fellow of the Certified Practicing Accountants and an Associate Member of the Governance Institute of Australia. Scott has also completed numerous post graduate courses including a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance, Company Directors Course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and Post Graduate Diploma of Purchasing and Materials Management with RMIT.

Mike O’Brien – Project Director

Mike has a 40­year mining and minerals background including over 25 years’ extensive management experience with multinational companies Shell Coal and Anglo American. He has worked in operational roles as General Manager of a large underground longwall mine, General Manager of a very large open cut mine and held senior corporate positions in Shell Coal's technical group. This included responsibility for mining, geological and engineering development. Mike has also held the role of CEO of a junior listed company exploring in Australia, and operating and developing mines in New Zealand. He holds a B.Sc. (Min) (Eng) from the University of Witwatersrand.

Norman Ting ­ General Manager Marketing, Asia

Norman has over 30 years industry experience having previously served as Chairman for Traxys China where he traded a range of products; predominantly bauxite. Norman also recently held a senior executive position with ASX listed engineering group Ausenco in China.



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