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Queensland Bauxite Buys Strategic Stake In Inverell Project

Queensland Bauxite (ASX:QBL) is acquiring a foothold a regionally strategic project in the Nullamana region of Inverell, New South Wales, as it seeks to add to its gibbsitic bauxite portfolio.

EL 7301 has a JORC 2004 Inferred Resource of 29 million tonnes grading 32% available alumina and 5% reactive silica. Upside could increase this to 50 million tonnes.

The acquisition comes amidst the forecast strong demand for bauxite following Indonesia's ban on unprocessed ores earlier this year.

EL 7301 and Transaction Details

QBL is acquiring a 50% interest in EL 7301 from investment company First State Pty Ltd for 37.5 million shares and 30 million options.

The options consist of 10 million options with an exercise price of $0.08, 10 million options at an exercise price of $0.10, 5 million options at an exercise price of $0.15, and 5 million options at an exercise price of $0.20.

The permit was originally granted to Volcan Australia Corporation, the controlling shareholder of QBL in 2008.

It then sold a 50% interest in EL 7301 to Plateau Bauxite, which has already spent in excess of $3 million in bauxite exploration on the permit.

The remaining 50% was sold to First State in October 2013.

EL 7301 is close to available labour, services and power, and infrastructure that may be able to be developed and upgraded to transport bauxite ore, such as road and rail networks that lead to major east coast deep water ports.

As both QBL and Plateau Bauxite share directors, a standard industry arms length joint venture will be entered into for the continuing operation of the tenement.

Neighbouring Tenement Owners

The company has been in discussion with the owners of tenements in the same area as EL7301.

One such tenement has already been reported by Australian Bauxite Limited (ASX: ABX) as containing an inferred and indicated resource of 38 million tonnes of bauxite.

This estimate was prepared in accordance with the JORC 2004 Code and has not been updated to be reported in accordance with the 2012 Code.

The combined tonnages of the tenements in the region should further add to the potential development options for the bauxite mineralisation.

Critical mass is a factor in major bulk commodity developments, and the consolidation of the mineralisation in the region should further assist with any potential feasibility studies to be conducted in due course and increase the likelihood of potential involvement of major strategic partners, who have already shown interest in the area.

Analysis

The part acquisition of EL 7301 near Inverell is undoubtedly strategic for QBL given the strong prospects for bauxite in 2014/15.

That Plateau Bauxite has already spent more than $3 million in bauxite exploration on EL 7301 demonstrates that the purchase price appears reasonable.

Although the company will go to shareholders for approval for the issue of the securities for the deal, this seems a shoe in.

South Johnstone will remain QBL's key bauxite project such is the potential and proximity to port and export markets.

A previous 2011 estimate carved for EL 7301 of a resource of 29 million tonnes with an average grade of 32% available alumina and 5% reactive silica is a useful start.

However, there could be as much as 50 million tonnes on the ground which is promising. That 2011 estimate will need upgrading. In all, the partial acquisition does add value especially if this number is right.

Assuming Australian Bauxite's 38 million tonne resource next door is somehow factored into the mix and the deal becomes interesting and compelling.

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