Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) announced late last week a plan to invest US$164 million in a bauxite ore mine in Guinea.
Domestic media reported yesterday the plan to invest in the Boffa bauxite project, which is the site of an estimated 736 million metric tons of bauxite reserves. Chalco says this investment will be but a portion of the firm’s ultimate investment of US$706 million at the site. Improvements slated for the mine include construction of mining, port, and transportation facilities, among others.
Per a Chalco executive referenced in domestic media, investment in the Boffa operation is the result of the firm’s continuing goal of securing upstream resources. At present, Chalco controls 710 million metric tons of bauxite reserves in its own country, which fills approximately half of the company’s bauxite ore requirements.
Guinea has been a hotbed of activity in recent months and years, as major aluminium firms have been angling to carve out a piece of the estimated 7.4 billion metric tons of bauxite ore, which is approximately a quarter of the world’s total known resources. Companies from the United States, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China have all sought concessions in the west African nation.
Though sitting atop a vast mountain of mineral wealth, Guinea has been unable to capitalize on it due to political and economic instability and a lack of infrastructure and technology. Riots and political corruption has taken its toll upon existing operations as well, with significant and expensive work stoppages happening as recently as earlier this month.
Chalco is no stranger to the Guinean mining scene, as it has had a presence there since 2012. The firm has been a partner with Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto at the Simandou iron ore project, in which it currently holds a 40-percent stake at present.