Alufer is carrying out a feasibility study into the expansion of production at its Bel Air bauxite mine in Guinea by another 4.5 Mtpa to 10 Mtpa.
Production began on phase 1 in February, and Alufer has reported that it was satisfied that existing transport operations were working well.
Bernie Pryor, CEO of Alufer, said: “It is a significant achievement to have hit commercial production within the first six months of operation.
“To increase output from first ore on ship to today’s run rate shows how well our mining, haulage and transhipment processes are functioning. The Bel Air project has integrated logistics and all areas need to be streamlined and work efficiently from pit to ship.”
A preliminary engineering study into the expansion has already been completed. The mine, which is located 75 miles north of Conakry, has estimates reserves of 146 Mt.
After years of political instability, Guinean bauxite production is increasing rapidly. Eurasian Resources has announced that it is proceeding with the development of the Telimele bauxite mine and associated transport infrastructure, with anticipated production capacity of 20 Mtpa.
In a statement, Pryor said: “With the operational set-up we have achieved to date, we are now looking to the next phase and analysing how we can create further value from the Bel Air project.”
However, investors may be slightly deterred by President Alpha Conde’s decision to personally take control of the state mining company, Société Guinéenne du Patrimoine (Soguipami).
The company was previously under the responsibility of the Ministry of Mines. Soguipami holds stakes in various mining firms, including a 10% share in Société Minière de Boké (SMB) and 49% in La Compagnie des bauxites de Guinée.
Work on building the new 135 km railway from SMB’s mines in Houda and Santou regions to the Port of Boké began in April. The line, which is scheduled to come into operation in June 2021, is to be operated by SMB for 33 years under a build-own-operate-transfer contract.