Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s biggest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, said it has begun exporting bauxite ore from its mining project in Guinea as it expands in the aluminium value chain.
EGA's first export of bauxite, the raw material refined into alumina that is then used to make aluminium, was transported from its Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) unit to the port of Kamsar in the West African nation on Monday, EGA said.
"Our first export of bauxite ore is a landmark moment for EGA and for Guinea," said Abdulla Kalban, chief executive of EGA. "For EGA, it completes our strategic expansion upstream, making us an integrated global aluminium producer. For Guinea, the project creates economic opportunity and helps the country to expand its production of its biggest natural resource."
EGA invested $1.4 billion (Dh5.14bn) in the bauxite mining project in Guinea as part of its strategy to control all parts of the value chain, reduce costs and secure raw materials for its aluminium production.
Both the mining project and Al Taweelah alumina refinery, where EGA began production in April, will create new revenue streams for the company, it said.
EGA, through its wholly-owned unit GAC, secured a $750 million loan to finance its bauxite mining project in Guinea from lenders including First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD and Mashreq Bank.
Production at GAC is expected to rise to 12 million tonnes of bauxite per year once full ramp-up is achieved.
Bauxite ore is transported from GAC’s jetty at the port of Kamsar by self-propelled barge to a transshipment point operated by EGA in deeper water. This allows EGA to export the ore from GAC using bulk cargo vessels that are among the world’s largest, including Capesize and Newcastlemax ships.
There were two main construction sites on the GAC project, some 90 kilometres apart.
EGA is also importing bauxite ore for processing at the Al Taweelah alumina refinery from Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée under a long-term agreement.