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Guinea strikes $5bn mine deal with Abu Dhabi, Dubai

Guinea reached Monday a $5 billion deal with the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai to develop a bauxite mine and alumina refinery in a fresh attempt to revitalize the West African nation’s natural resources sector.

The agreement, reports Reuters, includes $1 billion for extraction and exports of bauxite to the United Arab Emirates’ aluminum plants. It also involves a $4 billion aluminum refinery and a port.

The pact modifies a previously planned project and highlights a need in the Gulf to obtain raw materials to feed the recently created Emirates Global Aluminum, a national champion for the UAE company, set to become the world’s fifth-largest producer of the metal.

Under the deal, Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) —an Abu Dhabi-Dubai joint venture— will develop a bauxite export mine and a port, to be operational by 2017, and an alumina refinery with an initial capacity of 2 million tonnes a year. Commercial production from the refinery is estimated to begin in 2022.

Guinea is one of the main producers of bauxite, the raw material used in aluminum production, and mining has long been seen by the country as having potential to deliver much needed income. However some of the country’s resources that are considered among the world’s largest, such as the Simandou iron ore deposit, have not been touched yet because of both financial and political reasons.

Image by Julien Harneis