China’s Chalco to ship first bauxite from Boffa mine by early December

Image by Aluminum Corp of China Ltd.

Aluminum Corp of China Ltd, known as Chalco, is set to make its first shipment from Boffa’s bauxite mine in Guinea by early-December, an official from parent and state-owned company Chinalco said on Thursday.

A Chinalco official said last month at the China Mining conference in Tianjin that the Boffa launch had been delayed until 2020. Operations at the mine are now expected to be underway by early-December and it will eventually produce 12 million tonnes of bauxite a year.

“The mining operation has already started and the first output will be shipped to China at the beginning of December,” Chen Qi, deputy general manager of Chinalco said at an industry conference.

Bauxite is a rock refined to make alumina, which is then used to make aluminium metal.

Chalco had 18.86 million tonnes of alumina capacity at the end of 2018, according to its annual report

Chalco will also finish construction on the first phase of a 2-million-tonnes-per-year alumina plant in southern China’s Guangxi region next year, Chen said on the sidelines of the conference.

He was unsure when the production would begin at the Guangxi Huasheng New Materials Co alumina project, which cost 5.805 billion yuan ($829.99 million).

The alumina plant, in Fangchenggang prefecture in the south of Guangxi province which is close to Vietnam, is just one possible destination for Boffa bauxite, he added.

Chalco had 18.86 million tonnes of alumina capacity at the end of 2018, according to its annual report.

Including all 2 million tonnes from Chalco’s Guangxi Huasheng, China is expected to add 4.7 million tonnes of alumina production capacity in 2020, senior analyst Huo Yunbo at Antaike told delegates.

Antaike, the research arm of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, expects China’s total production to rise by 3.3% to 73.98 million tonnes next year.

China’s alumina demand is seen at 74.24 million tonnes next year, but when factoring in estimated net alumina imports of 1 million tonnes that leaves the Chinese alumina market in a 740,000 tonne surplus next year, Huo said.

($1 = 6.9941 Chinese yuan)

(By Tom Daly and Shivani Singh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Alexander Smith)

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