The GAC Boké bauxite project is the biggest greenfield investment being made in the region over the past 40 years. Image courtesy of Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC.
The mine has proven and probable reserves of 236.8Mt of bauxite grading 46.5% Al2O3. Image courtesy of Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC.
The Boké project is expected to produce up to 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of export-grade quality bauxite. Image courtesy of Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC.

The Boke bauxite project is being developed in the Boke region, approximately 168km north of Conakry, the capital city of the Republic of Guinea.

UAE-based aluminium conglomerate Emirates Global Alumina (EGA) is developing the greenfield project in two phases through its subsidiary Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC). The EGA conglomerate also comprises Mubadala Development of Abu Dhabi and Dubai-based Investment Corporation.

The first phase is estimated to cost $1.4bn, while EGA proposes to invest approximately $4bn in the second phase.

Construction works under the first phase were started in 2017 and the first bauxite is expected to be produced and exported in the second half of 2019. Production from the first phase is expected to up to 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of export-grade bauxite, which will be entirely exported.

Boke bauxite project development phases

The first phase involves the development of a bauxite mine with a life of 20 years. In addition, GAC proposes to construct a multi-user port terminal and commercial dock at Kamsar, as well as upgrade the existing rail network and extend the export passage.

Four new passing loops will be constructed as part of the railway upgrades, in addition to a duplicated section along the rail line within the existing Agence Nationale D’aménagement des Infrastructures Minières (ANAIM) corridor. The works also include construction and operation of one rail siding at the mine site and one loop at the port.

“Production from the first phase is expected to up to 12 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of export-grade bauxite, which will be entirely exported.”

The new port terminal at Kamsar is being constructed on an existing fill platform and expected to handle 12Mtpa of bauxite. Infrastructure facilities proposed at the port include a rail terminal and unloading facilities, reclamation and conveyor units, water desalination plant, fuel handling facility, power generation facility, and a maintenance workshop.

The second phase development will include expansion of the bauxite mine and construction of a 2.4Mtpa alumina refinery, which is expected to be operational from 2022. It will also include the expansion of the existing rail network and the construction of a new port terminal and an additional berth.

GAC Boke bauxite project geology and mineralisation

The GAC mining concession is located in the Tanènè province of Boke, northwestern Guinea, and predominantly made up of low hills. Bauxite is found on the flat layers or near the surface of the plateaus of the hills.

Boke bauxite project reserves

The GAC Boke bauxite project is estimated to contain proven and probable reserves of 236.8Mt of bauxite grading 46.5% Al2O3.

Mining and ore processing at Boke project

Conventional open-pit method of mining involving drilling and blasting will be applied at GAC Boke bauxite project to extract export-grade product.

Initial mining operations at the project will be focused on plateaus 20, 24, 26, 27, and 31, with operations extended to other plateaus in future. The mined product will be crushed by using two hoppers and primary sizers at a rate of 3,000t an hour, before being conveyed to the stacker.

The stacked bauxite will then be loaded onto trains by 23t loaders and transported via a dedicated rail line to the port terminal in Kamsar. A 1,300t stacker reclaimer will be used for piling the bauxite ore at Kamsar.

Bauxite transportation from Boke project

GAC has entered a 15-year agreement with Louis Dreyfus Ports & Logistics for transshipping the bauxite from the Boke project.

Financing of GAC’s Boke project

GAC has secured a $150m A-loan from International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the project development, in addition to a facility of up to $350m, which can be drawn from commercial banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), and parallel lenders.

EGA proposes to use its existing equity in addition to funds raised from other lenders for the remaining investment.

Infrastructure facilities

Existing infrastructure facilities at Boke includes access roads, explosives storage facility, bauxite crushing unit, water settling and polishing unit, and drinking water treatment unit.

Raw water will be sourced from the Tinguilinta River and stored in a reservoir constructed in the Tiouladiwol Valley.

Contractors involved

Fluor was awarded the $700m engineering and project management consultancy (PMC) contract for the Boke project. Fluor will undertake marine and other earthworks, rail & bridges, in addition to the construction of material handling and infrastructure facilities on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

GAC has awarded the mining and construction contract for the Boke bauxite mine to Bouygues Travaux Public Mining Infrastructure, a company based in France.