Guinea boosts power output to foster bauxite refining

By Joe Bavier CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea expects to boost its energy production capacity by nearly four-fold over the next six years as it pushes mining companies to refine their bauxite output locally, the energy minister said on Friday. The West African nation, Africa's biggest producer of the aluminium ore, is in the midst of a mining boom that has seen bauxite output explode, mainly on the back of demand from China.

Reuters April 27, 2019 01:05:24 IST
Guinea boosts power output to foster bauxite refining

Guinea boosts power output to foster bauxite refining

By Joe Bavier

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea expects to boost its energy production capacity by nearly four-fold over the next six years as it pushes mining companies to refine their bauxite output locally, the energy minister said on Friday.

The West African nation, Africa's biggest producer of the aluminium ore, is in the midst of a mining boom that has seen bauxite output explode, mainly on the back of demand from China. It now accounts for more than half of China's bauxite imports.

Seeking to use the mining sector to fuel economic development, the government is pressuring mining companies to commit to building facilities that will refine bauxite into higher value alumina, which is used in smelters to produce aluminium.

"Mines are, quite simply, development. And the mines can't develop without energy," Cheick Taliby Sylla said on the sidelines of a mining conference in Guinea's capital, Conakry.

Guinea currently has power production capacity of just 658 megawatts. Much of the country has no access to electricity, and even the capital experiences frequent blackouts.

Experts have therefore questioned the feasibility of establishing a power-thirsty refining sector.

But Sylla said several projects in the pipeline will significantly boost output in the near future.

"By 2025, we will have around 2,600 megawatts in terms of total production," he said. "We can dedicate a quantity to (the mining companies) ... We will guarantee that supply of energy."

The 450-megawatt Souapiti hydro-electric dam is the first large-scale project expected to enter production. The dam, which is being built by China Water Electric with $1.3 billion in financing from China Exim Bank, will go online next year.

Sylla said 1.3 billion cubic meters of water will be directed into the dam's reservoir during the country's rainy season later this year. Around 15,000 people are being displaced by the project.

Guinean Mines Minister Abdoulaye Magassouba said the increased power availability should drive companies to stick to the refining timetables set out in their agreements with the government.

"There are contractual obligations that were entered into freely by mining companies," he said. "We plan to respect to our commitments. And we expect our partners to respect their commitments."

SMB - a consortium of Singapore's Winning International Group, the world's top aluminium producer China Hongqiao <1378.HK> and Guinea's UMS International - will begin construction of a refinery later this year.

The facility, which will be capable of producing 1 million tonnes of alumina annually, is part of a $3 billion upgrade that also includes a 135-kilometre (84-mile) railway.

(Reporting by Joe Bavier, editing by Louise Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

JPMorgan freezes donations to Republicans who contested 2020 election
Business

JPMorgan freezes donations to Republicans who contested 2020 election

By Pete Schroeder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co will resume making political donations to U.S. lawmakers but will not give to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory, according to an internal memo on Friday seen by Reuters. The bank was among many corporations that paused political giving following the deadly Jan

Square considers making bitcoin hardware wallet - Dorsey
Business

Square considers making bitcoin hardware wallet - Dorsey

(Reuters) - Fintech company Square Inc is considering making a hardware wallet for bitcoin, Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in a tweet https://twitter.com/jack/status/1400839179513339905 on Friday. As bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have gained in popularity, many companies have emerged to serve a growing need to protect these assets from online theft. Bitcoin wallets can be stored offline or online at cryptocurrency exchanges, venues where bitcoin can be bought and sold for traditional currencies or other virtual coins.

Critics still unhappy as EU clarifies revamped copyright rules
Business

Critics still unhappy as EU clarifies revamped copyright rules

By Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Commission on Friday defined the scope of revised copyright rules adopted last year following criticism from governments, including France and Poland, but EU broadcasters and internet activists said there was a danger of censorship. The revamped copyright directive, the first overhaul in two decades, aimed to provide fair compensation for the bloc's $1 trillion creative industry and its 11.7 million employees. A central provision, Article 17, backed by the creative industry, would force Google-owned YouTube, Facebook's Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials