Rio Tinto has awarded a $70 million bulk earthworks contract to Queensland-based civil engineering firm QBirt for the development of critical mine infrastructure at its world-class Amrun bauxite project on Cape York Peninsula.
Earthworks required for the construction of the project, 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines, include about 40 km of sealed access roads and the haul road network.
QBirt will also develop the mine stockpile zone, tailings and separation ponds and other critical site infrastructure.
Construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017 and conclude by the end of 2018.
At its peak the contract will generate 150 jobs and help support ongoing employment for the existing workforce of 1400 people at Weipa’s bauxite operations.
Rio Tinto Growth and Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said the roads and other infrastructure to be developed by QBirt are essential to the future Amrun operation.
“We are very pleased that a Queensland-based business has won this important work ahead of other competitive bidders,” Mr McIntosh said.
“QBirt not only brings more than 30 years’ experience in the industry but shares our commitment to developing a strong and sustainable safety culture at Amrun.”
QBirt is currently undertaking construction of a tailings facility at Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery and has previously completed construction of 300,000m3 of embankment and 7 km of mine haul roads at Rio Tinto’s Weipa bauxite mine.
Production and shipping at the new mine are expected to start in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.