Emirates Global Aluminium, EGA, today announced a milestone at its under-construction Guinea bauxite mining project as the first loaded train travelled from its subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation’s (GAC) mine to the coast.
The 80-wagon train carried some 6,800 tonnes of bauxite ore from GAC’s mine to the company’s facilities at Kamsar in Guinea. The ore will be used to begin building a base-layer of bauxite at GAC’s new stockyard.
First bauxite exports are expected during the second half of 2019. GAC has a total budgeted project cost of approximately US$1.4 billion and is the largest greenfield investment in Guinea in the last four decades.
GAC has completed rail loops, and spurs to connect its facilities to an existing nearby railway track that is used by other companies. GAC’s locomotives, which were made in the United States, and Chinese-made wagons, arrived in Guinea last year.
The train took just under three hours to complete the 90 kilometre journey from the mine to the coast. GAC is also building port facilities including the unloading yard and an export pier at Kamsar, a well-established bauxite port. Once the GAC project is fully-operational, up to six loaded bauxite trains a day are expected to make the journey from the mine to the port.
Commenting on the announcement, Abdulla Kalban, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EGA, said, "This milestone is the result of many thousands of hours of planning and teamwork in Guinea involving GAC, train operator Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, the owner of the existing rail infrastructure ANAIM, and other rail partners. I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to the safe and successful completion of this first journey as well as our neighbours. We are making good progress in Guinea, and look forward to first bauxite exports later in the year."
Guinea is the world’s largest bauxite resource holder, and EGA’s project will contribute significantly to the country’s exports of the ore from which aluminum is derived. Bauxite from the GAC project will be sold to aluminium producers around the world.
Once full ramp up is achieved, the GAC project is expected to produce some 12 million tonnes of bauxite per year. The Guinea project is part of EGA’s strategic drive to expand its business upstream in the aluminium value chain and internationally. EGA is also building the UAE’s first alumina refinery at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi. The plant will refine bauxite into alumina, which is the feedstock for aluminum smelters.