Helping to strengthen Queensland for the next half century
The Amrun bauxite project continued the long-term collaboration between Rio Tinto and Bechtel in Australia. The world-class project aimed to sustain production, minimise environmental impacts, strengthen long-term relationships with neighboring communities and foster local economic development.
Respecting Traditional Owners
Originally known as South of Embley due to its location near the river of the same name on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, it was renamed Amrun following a request from the Wik-Waya Traditional Owners.
Before work began, Rio Tinto and the Wik-Waya Traditional Owners collaborated to develop the Amrun Communities, Heritage and Environment Management Plan. Following project approval in 2015, Bechtel collaborated by ensuring project work aligned with this plan, which provided a framework whereby the companies and Traditional Owners cooperated to manage the land in a way that met business needs and Wik-Waya aspirations through construction and into operations.
Innovative approach to project delivery
The first bauxite shipment was carried out six weeks ahead of schedule in early December 2018. Rio Tinto completed commissioning early and under budget in March 2019. Amrun’s initial capacity of 22.8 Mtpa replaced falling output from the East Weipa operation and increased export capacity by approximately 10 Mtpa.
The project infrastructure included a 1 km-long export facility with Panamax ship loading capability. This first of its kind facility was built in modules off-site and then transported to the project and installed. This reduced over-water work in a culturally significant and environmentally sensitive region and cut construction time by one year. Additionally, this safe and innovative method eliminated 300,000 work hours that would have been spent at height and over water.
Benefitting the region for decades
To fulfill its commitment to benefit the region, Amrun also led recruitment roadshows in local communities, resulting in nearly 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being employed by the project. Furthermore, the construction phase included Aud2.2 billion (approximately $1.5 billion) of contracts with local, state and national businesses.
Amrun is expected to continue providing jobs and contributing to regional growth for the next 50 years.