Alufer Mining Ltd has provides an update on progress of the construction phase at the Bel Air bauxite mine in Guinea, which will employ a fleet of Wirtgen surface miners. The mining comprises the extraction of ore from six open pits 15 km from the export facility at Cap Verga on the Atlantic coast of NW Guinea. The pits will be mined sequentially, utilising the Wirtgen surface mining technology, followed by the haulage of bauxite to the Export Facility (EF), where barges are loaded to transfer the Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) to Capesizes in the Transhipment Zone (TSZ) located 32 km off the coast. The transfer of DSO into ships will take place at the TSZ for export.
The Bel Air mine has a JORC compliant resource of over 146 Mt of high grade trihydrate bauxite with low reactive silica. The company is pleased to report that it is now over half way through its construction schedule and the project remains on both time and budget. First ore on ship is targeted for Q3 2018 which will then ramp up to initial steady state production of 5.5 Mt/y. Alufer is building and will operate its own dedicated export facility and work here is progressing well. The build of the major foundations of the causeway has been completed and is 1.4km in length, including the breakwater. Work will now focus on placing the large rock armour along the sides, finalising the block berth sequence for the barge loading location and completing the top layer of aggregate on which the conveyor belt will be placed.
The haul roads connecting the mining pits are well advanced and camp construction is also progressing with the workforce continuously moving into this permanent accommodation. Alufer is adopting the IFC environmental and social performance standards along with the Equator Principles as best practice for the Bel Air project. Comprehensive social and environmental impact assessment studies continue, and will do so for the life of mine, and a number of community projects have been initiated with others planned to start in the coming months. Alufer is fully compliant with Guinea’s labour laws and currently 86% of the workforce is Guinean with almost half from local villages. The company is committed to continuing to provide training and development opportunities for the local workforce where possible as the project moves forward.