Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) has announced the first exports of bauxite ore from Guinea Alumina Corp. (GAC).
The first exports of bauxite ore from GAC, its mining project in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa, mark the completion of EGA’s strategic expansion upstream in the aluminium value chain to create an integrated global aluminium giant. The GAC project together with Al Taweelah alumina refinery, where EGA began production in April, create new revenue streams for the group and secure at competitive prices the raw materials that the UAE’s aluminium industry needs. EGA previously relied on imports to meet all its alumina needs.
The GAC project is one of the largest greenfield investments in Guinea in the last 40 years, and cost some USD1.4 billion to develop. More than half the funds were provided by the largest greenfield mining project financing ever in Guinea - a USD750 million loan from development finance institutions, export credit agencies and international commercial banks.
GAC is expected to make a direct, indirect and induced economic impact of some USD700 million each year in Guinea once production is fully ramped-up, a 5.5% boost to the national GDP.
EGA invested some USD3.3 billion to develop Al Taweelah alumina refinery, which is the first in the UAE and only the second in the Middle East.
Abdulla Kalban, CEO of EGA, said: “Our first export of bauxite ore is a landmark moment for EGA and for Guinea. For EGA, it completes our strategic expansion upstream, making us an integrated global aluminium producer. For Guinea, the project creates economic opportunity and helps the country to expand its production of its biggest natural resource.
“On the GAC project, as in all EGA operations, safety is the first priority. I am particularly proud our safety performance on this project was world-class,” he continued.
GAC’s operations include a mine, railway infrastructure (some shared with other operators), and port facilities. Bauxite ore is transported from GAC’s jetty at the port of Kamsar by self-propelled barge to a transshipment point operated by EGA in deeper water. This enables EGA to export bauxite ore from GAC using bulk cargo vessels that are amongst the world’s largest, including Capesize and Newcastlemax ships.
GAC is expected to produce some 12 million tonnes of bauxite ore per year at full design capacity. This is equivalent to the weight of two Great Pyramids of Giza.
Bauxite ore from GAC is sold by EGA to customers around the world. EGA is importing bauxite ore for processing at Al Taweelah alumina refinery from Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée under a long-term agreement, also using transshipment and Capesize vessels.
GAC has invested some USD14 million so far in social and environmental projects in neighbouring communities, with projects including building 12 schools, eight health centres and running health awareness campaigns that have reached more than 90,000 people.