Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco) said earlier this week that it has queued up its inaugural bauxite ore shipment from Guinea by early next month.
“The mining operation has already started and the first output will be shipped to China at the beginning of December,” said Chen Qi, deputy general manager of Chinalco, to Reuters at an industry conference on Thursday. Chinalco is the state-owned parent of Chalco.
Chen’s comments come a month after a Chinalco representative said at another conference that its bauxite operations at Boffa were delayed, leaving the mine to be opened later next year.
Chinalco has since revised their expectations, targeting an early-December opening of the mine, which is slated to have a bauxite production rate of 12 million metric tons per annum.
Next year will also see the completion of the initial phase of Chalco’s 2-million-metric-ton-per-annum alumina refinery Guangxi Huasheng New Materials Co, according to Chen. However, he did not offer a timetable for alumina production at the CNY5.805 billion plant.
Though the soon-to-be-shipped alumina precursor may eventually find its way to the plant in Fangchenggang prefecture, Chen said other destinations are possible for the shipment as well.
As of the end of last year, Chalco boasted an alumina refining capacity of 18.86 million metric tons per annum. Per Huo Yunbo of Antaike, the Chinese aluminium sector is poised to add 4.7 million metric tons per annum of alumina-refining capacity next year, including Chalco’s new plant in Guangxi
Altogether, China’s alumina-refining capacity will see a rise of 3.3 percent next year, he said, to a total of 73.98 million metric tons per annum. The increase will not meet China’s expected demand of 74.24 million metric tons at least on paper, but experts say imports of about 1 million metric tons next year will leave the Middle Kingdom with a surplus of 740 thousand metric tons.