10 May 2023

Record shipment of bauxite from Port of Weipa

| Cape York Weekly
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THOSE passing by wouldn’t have noticed a thing, but history was made in the Port of Weipa last week.

The Orient Cavalier set a new record for a bauxite shipment out of Rio Tinto’s Lorim Point terminal.

It was loaded with 99,431mt of bauxite ore.

Michael Austin, Rio Tinto’s marine superintendent in Weipa, said the stars aligned for such a big load.

“The Orient Cavalier is a post panama class vessel which was chartered in to load a larger than usual cargo, taking advantage of the 2.73m high tide available on October 21,” he said.

“Rio Tinto Weipa operations, working closely with other authorities and agencies, successfully coordinated loading operations which allowed the vessel to load 99,431mt of bauxite ore and safely sail on the evening high tide.

“This is a record bauxite ore loading for the Rio Tinto Lorim Point Terminal.”

Mr Austin said support came from Marine Safety Queensland and Vessel Traffic Services, Ports North pilots, SLTA draft surveyors, ships agent and vessel officers.


RIO Tinto Weipa has been able to ride the turbulent wave that is 2020, acting operations general manager Dan Kelleher said.

“I’m really pleased to say that as of our end of month September, year to date figures production was up 7.7 per cent on the same period last year at 27.08MT of bauxite,” he said at Saturday’s community information session.

“Group bauxite production in the period was 43MT and 2020 guidance of 55 to 58 MT was maintained, indicating Rio Tinto is on track to meet or beat last year’s production of 55MT.”

Mr Kelleher said the company still faced challenges ahead, pointing to low bauxite prices out of Guinea in Africa, as well as uncertainty from China.

But he told community members there was reason to be optimistic, believing Rio Tinto was committed to mining in Cape York, even when operations at Andoom and East Weipa expire.

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