Major Guinea bauxite mine to start producing in 2019

CONAKRY, Oct 26 (Reuters) – One of Guinea's largest bauxite mines will begin producing 5 million tonnes per year in 2019, the mines ministry said on Thursday, boosting the West African country's efforts to treble output by 2020.

Guinea has about a third of the world's bauxite reserves, which are refined and smelted to make aluminium, but annual output has lingered below 20 million tonnes for years, largely due to political instability.

Australia-based Alliance Mining Commodities will invest $670 million over the first five years of production at its mine in northwestern Guinea, Saadou Nimaga, secretary general of the mines ministry, told Reuters.

Nimaga said production could eventually reach 10 million tonnes per year. The mine's reserves are estimated at 300 million tonnes.

Guinea expects bauxite output to surge this year to 31 million tonnes and is targeting 60 million tonnes by 2020.

But operations at some of the country's largest mines have been repeatedly interrupted this year by riots, as local residents express anger about the country's chronic underdevelopment.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Adrian Croft).