The government in Queensland has passed legislation revoking Alcan‘s (AL-T) rights to the Aurukun bauxite reserves in northern portion of the Australian state. The move effectively kills Alcan’s ongoing fight to protect it rights in the state’s Supreme Court.
“Understandably, we are troubled that our rights to the Aurukun leases have been legislated away. The fact that the government reverted to legislation as a means to enforce its position is a clear recognition of the validity of our rights and the defence that we were prepared to mount before the courts,” said Michael Hanley, president of Alcan’s Bauxite and Alumina group.
Alcan also recently said that it had offered to fast-track a A$15-million feasibility study of a bauxite mine and alumina refinery at Aurukun.
Alcan inherited rights to Aurukun via its takeover of Pechiney, which was granted the rights to the bauxite deposits in 1975. The government claims Pechiney failed to meet a commitment to build a processing plant on-site by 1988. Legal action began in October 2003, with the government alleging Pechiney’s rights had expired and that the company had failed to surrender the project.
With Alcan’s rights revoked, the government plans to put Aurukun up for tender; Alcan has yet to decide if it will participate.
Bauxite is the natural mineral used to produce powdered alumina, which is then turned into aluminum.