Bauxite production has commenced at independent bauxite exploration and development company Alufer Mining, with first ore on ship from the Bel Air bauxite mine in Guinea on schedule, on budget and with zero lost time injuries.
Guinea – Surface mining started at the end of June 2018 and material was stockpiled in advance of commissioning on 3 August 2018.
Having raised US$205 million in December 2016, the construction phase commenced in January 2017 and the site was officially opened in February 2017 by His Excellency President Alpha Conde. Over the past 18 months, with over 4.5 million man hours worked, Alufer Mining has built its own dedicated port, ship berth, export facility and 25 km haul road as well as its own fully functional camp.
The company recruited a full construction team peaking at over 1 500 people, and an operational readiness team, with 85% of the workforce being Guinean nationals and over half from local communities.
Throughout construction, Alufer Mining has also committed to developing a sustainable legacy. Long lasting livelihood projects (such as food cropping and salt production) have been initiated and over 40 community projects (which included building classrooms and health centres and installing solar panels and water pumps) have been completed. As part of the company’s social licence to operate, Alufer Mining will continue to provide employment and development opportunities for the local workforce for the duration of the project.
“We are very proud to reach this milestone. Building a mine within such a short timeframe on a Greenfields site, on time, on budget and with an exemplary safety record is a rare achievement,” says Alufer Mining CEO Bernie Pryor, who thanked all of the stakeholders in Bel Air – its shareholders for financing the project, its team and contractors on the ground for their hard work and dedication and the Government of Guinea and local communities for their ongoing support.
“We will now implement the ramp up and look forward to Alufer Mining becoming a fully-fledged bauxite producer in the coming months,” Pryor added.
“We discovered the Bel Air deposit and secured the licence back in 2010 so it is a remarkable moment to see the mine operating from pit to ship today. I would like to add my thanks and congratulations to all who have been involved in the journey to date and we look forward to the next phase of the Alufer story,” says Alufer Mining chairman Adonis Pouroulis.
Moreover, on 13 August, Alufer Mining secured a long term offtake with China State Power Investment Company (SPIC) and the Bel Air mine will provide stable quality bauxite to SPIC’s alumina refineries shipping in Capesize vessels.
Having successfully transitioned from construction into operations the team will now focus on ramping up to steady state production of 5.5 Mtpa.