Project history

Glencore was granted a Mineral Development Licence over the Aurukun bauxite resource in 2018.

However, the Aurukun bauxite resource has had a long history before Glencore’s involvement, dating back to the 1950s.

Background to Glencore involvement

Following a competitive tender process run by the Queensland Government in 2013, Glencore entered into a Development Agreement with the Queensland Government in early 2015 to assess the feasibility of developing the Aurukun Bauxite resource.

A Mineral Development Licence over the resource was granted with effect from January 2018 which enabled feasibility and environmental studies to begin.

Since 2016, we have been engaging and consulting regularly with the Traditional Owners and other key stakeholders on potential project plans. We recognise that the genuine and direct involvement of the Traditional Owners and Aurukun community is vital to the project's future success.

We continue to consult with Traditional Owners, discussing potential plans and getting community feedback.

1955 Geologist Harry Evans identifies bauxite at Weipa.
1958 The Queensland Government gives Comalco the rights to mine the best bauxite deposits.
1961 Comalco starts bauxite mining at Weipa.

Geologists explore the Aurukun bauxite deposit to determine its size and understand the quality of the bauxite.

1975-2004 During these years, the lease over the Aurukun bauxite deposit was held by a group of companies called the Aurukun Associates. Many people called the area during this time "the Pechiney lease" because Aluminium Pechiney Holdings was one of the companies in this group. Aurukun Associates did not develop the lease and the Queensland Government took the lease back.
October 2004 The Federal Court recognises Wik native title.
2007-2011 Following a bidding process run by the Queensland Government in 2006, Aluminium Corp of China (Chalco) is awarded the rights to the resource. Chalco are required to both develop the mine and build an alumina refinery in Queensland. Following an extensive feasibility study it is concluded that a refinery is not viable and the Queensland Government decided to terminate the lease in 2011.
November 2012 The Queensland Government asks for proposals from companies who want to develop the Aurukun Bauxite Project. Proponents are not required to build an alumina refinery as well.
April-September 2013 Five companies are shortlisted to participate in the tender process. Only two companies - Glencore and Australian Indigenous Resources - make proposals.
August 2014 Glencore is chosen by the Queensland Government to develop the Aurukun Bauxite Project.
January 2015 Glencore enters into a Development Agreement with the Queensland Government. This allows Glencore to apply for a Mineral Development Licence over the resource.
2015-2017 Following review of the selection process by the new Queensland Government as well as resolution of challenges to that process, Glencore’s selection is endorsed.
2017-18 With Traditional Owner permission and involvement, we assess the feasibility of the Tcharawopin bauxite deposit, a small resource within the larger Aurukun bauxite resource. After an initial assessment and consultation, Glencore decides it is not feasible to proceed with the small scale development.
January 2018 Glencore is granted a Mineral Development License by the Queensland Government over the Aurukun bauxite resource. This allows Glencore to start its feasibility and environmental studies on the main project proposal, namely the development of the Coconut and Tapplebang bauxite deposits. These are located close to what is known locally as Beagle Camp.
2018-2019 A variety of field work programs are undertaken with Traditional Owner involvement as part of the collection of baseline environmental and resource information that will be part of Glencore’s studies.
July 2019 The Aurukun Bauxite Project Working Group is established to start discussions about an agreement between NAK, Wik Waya families and Glencore to enable the mining of the Aurukun Bauxite deposit.
February 2020 Glencore submits its application to prepare a Voluntary EIS to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
February 2020

The project was determined to  be a controlled action (EPBC 2020/8624)  under the EPBC Act. The controlling provisions are:

  • listed as threatened species and communities (Section 18 and 18A);
  • listed as migratory species (Section 20 and 20A); and
  • listed under the Commonwealth marine area (Section 23 and 24A).
On 17 January 2022, the action was varied for a realigned proposed Product Bauxite Transport Corridor to reflect adjacent land holder feedback.
October 2020 The Terms of Reference for the EIS are finalised after a period of public consultation.
September 2021 MDP Bauxite Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd, completes its acquisition of a 30% stake in the Aurukun Bauxite Project, following receipt of all relevant approvals. Glencore retains 70% ownership and full management.
January 2023 The Mineral Development Licence over the Aurukun bauxite resource is renewed for a further five year term.
July 2023 Glencore submits its Environmental Impact Statement to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science. The EIS process that is being used for the project (under the EP Act) is an accredited assessment process under Part 8 of the EPBC Act.

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About Aurukun

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