A definitive feasibility study has proven successful for Alliance Mining Commodities (AMC), which expects to be named the world’s fifth-largest bauxite producer after announcing positive results for its 90 per cent-owned Koumbia project in Guinea, West Africa.
The company stated that the results confirmed “the financial and technical viability of a world-scale, long-life bauxite operation” at the site, which measures 728 square kilometres and is in the Boké Bauxite Belt.
With a mine life of 40 years, Koumbia is expected to produce a high-grade measured and indicated resource including 305 million tonnes grading 48 per cent aluminium oxide and an inferred resource of 250Mt grading 48 per cent aluminium oxide, with low reactive silica of 1.7 per cent and high gibbsite content, which is expected to support low-cost extraction.
In total, the project contains an indicated and inferred resource base of 2.2 billion tonnes of ore grading 43.5 per cent aluminium oxide.
The company believes it will earn US$7.1 billion in life-of-mine revenue, and predicts that the Koumbia operation will produce 10 million tonnes per annum of high-quality direct shipping ore, with production starting in 2016.
The study was undertaken by Perth-based engineering services company Proteus EPCM Engineers, which proposed an US$812 million mine, rail and port development for Koumbia.
“The completion of a positive definitive feasibility study for the Koumbia project represents a major milestone for AMC, confirming that it is a world-scale project with the potential to generate strong operating margins and robust financial returns,” AMC managing director Bob Adam said.
According to the company, the high demand outlook for bauxite is based on an anticipated annual growth rate of 6.8 per cent in aluminium production until 2025, as bauxite is the main source of aluminium.
Commodity forecaster CRU predicted that an extra 180mtpa of bauxite would be required to meet this increase. “With an infrastructure solution identified and a strong market outlook, we are ready to move to the next stage of development of this world-class asset, subject to funding timelines,” the company stated.
Mined ore will be transported 96km by rail to a proposed port site on the Rio-Nuñez river where it will be loaded onto a marine trans-shipper.
AMC expects all environmental and social impact approvals to be given by early 2013.