Guinea is ready to begin shipping bauxite to China following the completion of its Bel Air Mine. The West African nation plans to grow its international trade revenues using the precious mineral, which is the world’s main source of aluminium.
The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading infrastructure development finance institution on the continent, announced the on-time completion of the Bel Air Mine in Guinea on August 9th, 2018.
The Corporation also announced the loading of Guinea’s first shipment of high-grade bauxite to China. The construction of the mine was completed on time and to budget. It has now emerged that the country will have a steady state production capacity will be 5.5 million tonnes of bauxite per annum, which will add to Guinea’s average yearly exports of 35 million tonnes of bauxite.
The Bel Air Mine was developed by Alufer Mining Ltd, a leading bauxite producer, and is located in the Boffa region of Western Guinea. Alufer’s Bel Air Mine was financed as part of an international investment consortium, which included AFC, the sole African private sector financier, Orion Mine Finance, with over $2.5 billion in assets under management, and Resource Capital Funds, a mining-focused equity firm with over $2.5 billion under management.
The total invested by the consortium was $205 million, making it the first and largest foreign investment in Guinea since the 2014 Ebola crisis.
During construction, the project employed over 1,500 people, 85% of which were Guinean nationals and over half from local communities. This marks a significant milestone for the Corporation, demonstrating its commitment to investing across Africa and providing employment and sustainable economic growth for those who need it most.
Creating a net-positive impact on the surrounding communities formed a key tenet to the development goals of the project. To date, 40 community projects have been completed, including small infrastructure projects that focused on power, water and waste management.
The AFC noted that long lasting livelihood projects have also played an important aspect for developing the local economy. The creation of a local development fund has been instrumental in supporting improvements to farming practices that enhance product yields.
“The scale of African demand for financing infrastructure investment and maintenance is high,” Oliver Andrews, Executive Director & Chief Investment Officer of the AFC commented.
“Traditional sources of public financing and weakened economic conditions in many regions of the world including those ravaged by Ebola, have magnified the need for private capital,” he explained.
Andrews added that the timely and safe completion of construction of the Bel Air Mine and associated transport infrastructure brings with it not only employment opportunities but also much-needed connections with international markets that will support sustainable growth for Guinea’s mining industry.
On his part, Alufer Mining CEO, Bernie Pryor noted that the AFC has been an integral partner in the success of the Bel Air Mine, contributing to the sustainable approach to which the project was to be delivered.
“We look forward to working closely with AFC to deliver substantial returns for all of our stakeholders and creating a positive and lasting legacy for the people of Guinea,” he concluded.