The Boke bauxite project in Boké region of north-western Guinea is one the biggest greenfield investments in the country in the last four decades.
Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA), through its subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), is developing the project. EGA is owned by Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company (50%) anOpen-pit mined Investment Corporation of Dubai (50%).
The project is being developed in two phases, with the first phase involving an investment of $1.4bn. The $4bn second phase involves the construction of an alumina refinery.
The first phase is expected to produce 12 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of export-quality bauxite ore, starting from mid-2019. It is estimated to have a mine life of 20 years.
First bauxite from the Boke project was transported to the stockpile and facilities located in the port of Kamsar in January 2019.
Boke bauxite project background and development details
The Boke project began with Global Alumisna International (GAI) obtaining the 690km² mining concession 149 from the Guinean government in 2001. Mubadala Investment Company, Dubal, and BHP Billiton acquired stake in the project in 2007.
EGA acquired 100% ownership of GAC in 2013 and launched the first phase of the project development in June 2016.
The first phase of development involves mine development, construction of a multi-user terminal at Port Kamsar, along with upgrading the rail network and developing associated support infrastructure.
Location, geology, and reserves
Located 168km north of the country’s capital Conakry, the Boke mine is situated in low hills scattered over the plateau region and comprises bauxite in flat layers that vary in thickness from 6m to 10m.
The project holds proven and probable reserves of 236.8Mt of bauxite graded at 46.5% of Al2O3.
Mining and ore transport
Ore will be mined using conventional open-pit methods, involving drilling and blasting, over a series of ten hills located in the southern portion of the project.
Initial mining operations will be conducted on plateaus 20, 24, 26, 27, and 31 and then extended to other plateaus in future. The mined ore will be crushed by using two hoppers and primary sizers at a rate of 3,000 tons per hour and conveyed to the stacker.
The resultant product will be transported, in trains, to the Kamsar port export terminal.
Supporting infrastructure includes a crushing plant and ore stockpile, haul roads, water settling and polishing facilities, water storage dam, and a telescopic barge loader.
Infrastructure at the Kamsar port will include a 1.5km-long jetty fitted with conveyor belt to load ore to barges before forwarding to the terminal.
Existing infrastructure includes access roads, conveyors, barge loaders, fuel storage and handling facility, administrative buildings, and worker accommodation camps.
Water shall be sourced from the Tinguilinta River and stored at a 750,000m³ water reservoir, while power supply will be provided by on-site diesel generators.
Marine offshore works at the Kamsar port began in August 2017, while rail works at Kamsar platform began in April 2018.
Bauxite transportation from Boke project
GAC has reached an agreement with Louis Dreyfus Ports & Logistics for trans-shipping of bauxite from the Boke project for 15 years.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) provided a loan of $150m to GAC for the project development. GAC also secured a loan facility of $350m, sourced from commercial banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), and parallel lenders.
EGA also proposes to raise additional funding through equity.
Flour Corporation was appointed as the project management consultant for the project, under an engineering, procurement, and construction contract worth approximately $700m in February 2017.
Bouygues Travaux Publics was awarded the mining and infrastructure construction contract for the Boke bauxite project in July 2017.