EGA's Al Taweelah alumina refinery project. The firm will receive more aluminium ore. Courtesy EGA.
EGA's Al Taweelah alumina refinery project. The firm will receive more aluminium ore. Courtesy EGA.

Abu Dhabi's EGA signs 15-year deal on Guinea bauxite services



Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, signed a 15-year agreement with LD Ports & Logistics, a subsidiary of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, a global marine transport and services group, for the transshipment of bauxite in the Republic of Guinea.

Louis Dreyfus Armateurs and Abu Dhabi Ports separately signed an undertaking to form a joint venture company to work together to implement the project. Transshipment is the process of moving cargo from one vessel to another at sea, and is used to transfer cargo when vessels are too big to berth in a port.

“EGA has set an ambitious growth agenda to expand upstream and internationally. Transshipment is an important link in the chain that will connect our alumina refinery and aluminium smelters in the UAE with bauxite mines in Guinea, and will also lower shipping costs from GAC to global bauxite markets,” said Abdulla Kalban, EGA’s managing director and chief executive.

Using larger ships reduces shipping costs on longer journeys. EGA will be loading bauxite at the port of Kamsar in Guinea from both its own Guinea Alumina Corporation project, which will supply customers around the world, and from Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee for supply to EGA’s Al Taweelah alumina refinery in Abu Dhabi.

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Read more:

Abu Dhabi's EGA on track for 2018 initial public offering 

Abu Dhabi Ports signs pact to enhance trade, attract investments

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Kamsar is located on the river Nunez some 17 kilometres from the open sea and is inaccessible for the world’s largest vessels. EGA is currently developing the GAC project in Guinea, a bauxite mine and associated export facilities.

First bauxite from the project is expected during the second half of 2019. The GAC project is one of the largest greenfield investments in Guinea in the past 40 years, and will be a new global source of bauxite supply. Bauxite is the ore from which aluminium is derived. EGA is also building the UAE’s first alumina refinery at Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi. First alumina is expected during the first half of 2019.

Al Taweelah alumina refinery is expected to meet 40 per cent of EGA’s alumina needs once full ramp-up is achieved.

“These agreements with EGA and Abu Dhabi Ports expand our geographic and operational footprint in West Africa. We are pleased to be partnering with these UAE leading companies, and to play a part in the development of Guinea’s economy by helping to enable the competitive transport of Guinean bauxite, said Gildas Maire, chief executive of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs.

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

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