Chinese Firm to Invest US$2.8 Billion in Guinean Bauxite Operation

Chinese Firm to Invest US$2.8 Billion in Guinean Bauxite Operation
Novotel Conakry. Source: Wikimedia

The Republic of Guinea’s mining ministry disclosed yesterday its approval of a US$2.8-billion investment in a fully-integrated aluminium operation around a domestic bauxite mine by the Chinese transformer-production firm Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co., Ltd. (TBEA).

According to secretary-general of the mines ministry Saadou Nimaga elaborated by saying that the mine is expected to begin producing bauxite in the summer of 2019 starting with a production rate of 10 million metric tons per annum. The mine’s production rate will triple in 2020, he explained.

The summer of 2021 should see the completion of an alumina refinery, continued Nimaga, specifying that it would have a capacity of 1 million metric tons per annum upon completion.

An aluminium smelter will take slightly longer he indicated, with construction slated to begin in 2025. The firm plans to import a 75-mW thermal plant as well as build a 300-mW hydroelectric dam to provide power for the operations as well, he said.

This announcement caps off a busy year for the Guinean bauxite industry. Earlier this month saw a French firm begin bauxite operations in country as well as announcements of an investment of US$100 million from the African Development Bank and plans for a study to invest US$3 billion in a separate operation to build an alumina refinery. In addition, firms from the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation separately announced a series of new and restarted projects for bringing Guinean bauxite to market.

Guinea sits atop roughly one-third of the world’s known supply of bauxite. The country expects to mine over 30 million metric tons of the ore this year, with plans to double that output by 2020. Guinea has faced difficulties in bringing their substantial supply of bauxite to market in recent months due to deadly riots in and around Boké triggered by long-standing complaints of poor working conditions, lack of jobs in the industry, and the loss of mineral wealth to outside interests.