Economy, Business And Markets

Guinea Bauxite Project Revived

Guinea Bauxite Project RevivedGuinea Bauxite Project Revived

Iran and Guinea have moved to reactivate a bauxite mining project in the West African country, after a 23-year delay.

The shareholders and managerial board of the Societe des Bauxites de Dabola-Tougue (SBDT), considered as Iran’s oldest overseas mineral project, in their joint general assembly meeting held on Friday agreed on the resumption of the SBDT’s activities and extending the previous agreements and mineral licenses, according to a report by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) public relations office.

In a meeting attended by deputy minister of industry, mine and trade Mehdi Karbasian, and Guinean Minister of Mines Kerfalla Yansane, the two sides decided to annually extract 4 million metric tons of bauxite from Dabola and Touge mine in Guinea. The extracted minerals will then be transported to Iran from the port city of Conakry.

To address the shortage of raw materials for aluminum production, Iran had signed a 25-year agreement with Guinea – the world’s second largest producer of bauxite – in 1992 to explore and extract 600 million tons of bauxite from the African country. After 23 years, the mine still remains unexploited due to administrative and financial issues. The project needs at least $400 to $500 million in investment.

As per Iran’s National Vision Plan for the year 2025, the aluminum sector is expected to produce 1.5 million tons of ingots within the next decade but shortage of bauxite has shed doubts on the plan’s feasibility. Iran’s biggest proven bauxite reserve is Jaajarm bauxite mine in North Khorasan province with less than 20 million tons of bauxite, which suffices for only 3 years if the country reaches the targeted 1.5 million ton in annual production of aluminum ingot.

Bauxite is a naturally occurring ore containing variable amounts of hydrous aluminum oxides, which is mainly used in aluminum metallurgy, industrial ceramics, and chemical processing. The mineral is then turned into alumina. Every four kilograms of bauxite yields 1.93 kilograms of alumina, while it takes 1.93 kilograms of alumina to produce one kilogram of aluminum.