People and places

By Antonio Torrisi
Published: Monday, 22 September 2014

First Bauxite CEO Alan Roughead discusses plans to develop refractory grade bauxite in Australia


What are the main differences between this new role and your previous role as CEO of Queensland Magnesia?

My previous role was in a mature operating business whereas the current role is taking a business from the exploration, development and feasibility stage through to project construction and operation.

What will your main responsibility be as a CEO of a junior company that aims to enter the bauxite market?

Responsibilities include leading the development and implementation of the company’s strategic plan, and optimisation of its resource base to produce and sell sintered bauxite, refractory and ceramic proppant products. A key function will be securing project financing for the development and construction of the high quality bauxite resource.

What are the major plans to bring First Bauxite in production?

First Bauxite is undertaking a major review of its project strategy for the Bonasika Project, which will cover the potential production of mullite and sintered bauxite for the refractory market, a range of ceramic proppant products for the fracking market and chemical grade raw bauxite. As well as this, a potential increase in project capacity is being assessed and the company is evaluating a more cost effective energy source.

How are you planning to secure funding to continue with the development of your main bauxite asset, the Bonasika project in Guyana?

This will first require completing the review of the project strategy and the existing feasibility study to determine if a new project concept can be developed with an acceptable level of return and risk profile. From that point, funding of the project can be considered. However, it is too early to be specific on the precise nature or composition of the funding.

What are your plans regarding the other bauxite assets, Essequibo-Demerara and Tarakuli in Guyana?

These are currently under review by the board.

Have you contacted any other parties to set up supply agreements?

We have previously discussed supply arrangements for sintered bauxite with refractory producers. Future supply arrangements for mullite, sintered bauxite and proppants will be discussed with potential customers as part of the project strategy review.

What is your current view of the bauxite market and its near-term outlook, considering the progressively deteriorating supply from China and Indonesia’s ban on bauxite exports?

The North American and European refractory markets are mature and have limited growth potential. However, we think there is scope for another player in the mullite market, which is dominated by one supplier and also the sintered bauxite market, which is dominated by China. We are very excited about the prospects of the ceramic proppant market especially in North America, which is growing very strongly and is heavily import reliant.

Finally, how do you spend your spare time?

CEO’s generally have limited spare time but, coming into my first Canadian winter, understanding the rules of ice hockey will probably be on the list!


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