Bauxite deposits are found across much of western and central Guinea, having been formed by the tropical weathering of underlying, aluminum-rich rocks. The deposits are typically close to the surface. Proven reserves total some 2,300Mt with additional probable reserves of 18,600Mt, most of which contain between 40% and 50% aluminum oxide (Al2O3). CBG’s operations are based on three main ore zones – Sangarédi, Bidikoum, and Silidara, with further resources at the N’danga, Boundou Waade, and Paravi deposits. Each deposit contains several different types of ore, varying in both grade and physical properties. Its existing resource totals over 300Mt grading 51% Al2O3, sufficient to support production at current rates for at least 25 years. Historically, grades in Sangarédi have been 56–58% Al2O3, while ore in Bidikoum averages 50% and Silidara 52%. In 2006, CBG signed an agreement with the Guinean government and Global Alumina over granting Global Alumina access to some of the CBG bauxite reserve areas. In return, CBG will have future access to some 2,000Mt of bauxite resource that lies outwith its current concession.
CBG was established in the early 1970s as a 49:51% joint venture between the Guinean government and the Halco partnership, originally comprising a group of international aluminium industry participants. Since 2004, Alcoa and Rio Tinto Alcan have each had a 45% stake in Halco, having gradually bought out most of the other founder members. In mid-1999, the government invited Alcoa to take over the management of the project. Project Status: While Sangarédi was the orebody on which CBG’s operations were founded, today between 85% and 90% of its output of raw bauxite comes from the Bidikoum and Silidara pits. After stripping any thin overburden, the ore is blasted and then loaded using hydraulic excavators into haul trucks for transport to the mine stockpiles. Bench heights of up to 8 metres allow most of the ore to be mined in one horizontal pass. The mining fleet consists of Demag H185 excavators, Caterpillar 992C and 992D wheel loaders, and 17 Caterpillar 777B and 777D trucks. Run-of-mine ore is stockpiled in long piles that run parallel to the mine’s rail sidings, with material from the different pits being tipped in layers to give a consistent blend. The stockpiles are then reclaimed using Caterpillar 992s that dump directly into rail wagons alongside. About two hours is needed to load each 100-wagon train, each car carrying around 82t of bauxite. Five or six trains carry ore from the mine to Kamsar each day.
Connected by rail to Kamsar.
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