Rusal in talks to mine bauxite in Sierra Leone

Rusal already has operations in neighboring Guinea. (Stock Image)

Russian aluminum giant Rusal is in negotiations with the government of Sierra Leone on a bauxite mining concession, the RIA state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the west African country’s mining minister.

“We had several meetings during which they (Rusal) showed a lot of interest in opening a bauxite mining concession in Sierra Leone,” Julius Mattai, minister of mines and mineral resources, was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Negotiations were still underway, RIA cited Mattai as saying. “We are here to resume cooperation, to confirm that we are strengthening Russian-African relations in the field of business, especially in the mining industry,” he added.

Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, already has operations in neighbouring Guinea.

Bauxite is converted into alumina, a raw material to make aluminum used by companies in construction and packaging.

“Sierra Leone has significant reserves of bauxite… and is actively seeking partners in the international market,” Rusal said in a statement to Reuters.

“Rusal is considering various opportunities to strengthen its raw material base and resource endowment,” it added.

Australia’s alumina export ban and a suspension of operations at a refinery in Ukraine have prompted Rusal to seek more alumina in China and other countries to ensure adequate supply to its Siberian aluminum smelters in 2022.

In 2023 it bought a 30% stake in a Chinese alumina refinery to support the feed coming from its alumina assets in Russia, Ireland, Jamaica and Guinea.

(By Anastasia Lyrchikova and Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Jan Harvey)


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