Ownership: BHP Billiton (60%), Anglo American (40%)
Groote Eylandt is the largest island in the Gulf of Carpentaria in north-eastern Australia. The island is about 50 kilometres from the Northern Territory mainland and 633km south-east of Darwin. The island measures about 50km from east to west and 60km north to south, and covers a total area of 2326.1 square kilometres. It is generally quite low-lying, with an average height above sea level of 15m, although Central Hill reaches an elevation of 219m.
The Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO), a BHP Billiton subsidiary, operates a large open-pit manganese mine on the island. The mine was first commissioned in 1965.
The operation’s beneficiation process consists of crushing, screening and dense media separation with lump and fines products being produced.
The Groote Eylandt operation accounts for about one quarter of the world’s total manganese production. The mine produced 4.039 million tonnes of manganese to December 31, 2010 and had produced 1.852Mt to June 30, 2011.
The mine had proven, probable reserves of 109Mt grading 46.600 per cent for 50.794Mt of manganese at June 30, 2010.
Operating. In July 2011, phase two of expansions at Groote Eylandt was approved. This followed the successful commissioning of the GEMCO expansion phase one project in April 2009. The US$279 million phase two expansion project would increase GEMCO's beneficiated product capacity from 4.2Mtpa to 4.8Mtpa, through the introduction of a dense media circuit by-pass facility. GEMCO expected the project to be completed in late calendar year 2013. The expansion would also address infrastructure constraints by increasing road and port capacity to 5.9Mtpa, creating 1.1Mtpa of latent capacity for future expansions.