the growing demand for bauxite in china is driving domestic integrated aluminium producers to explore opportunities outside china to invest in projects to extract the valuable raw material. a representative from chalco, a unit of china's biggest state-run firm, chinalco, said on thursday that the company plans bauxite production at its project in the west african nation of guinea by end of 2017 or early 2018.
"it is predicted that at the end of this year or the beginning of next year we will launch," lu dongliang, senior vice president at chalco, said in an industry conference in the city of fuzhou while answering to queries on the project’s development.
guinea's mines ministry confirmed in august that chalco would invest $500 million to mass-produce bauxite in the north part of the country.
guinea has the largest bauxite reserve in the world at 7.4 billon tonnes, the most of which is still unexplored leaving high potential for investment in the country in the bauxite sector. guinea currently produces 20,000 thousand tons of bauxite per year. political instability is one prime reason for the slow development of the industry in the country.
china holds only around 3 per cent of world bauxite reserves despite the growing demand from the domestic aluminium industry.
lu added that chalco would continue exploring overseas markets such as australia, laos, indonesia and cambodia to secure bauxite supply. chalco already holds interests in bauxite mines in laos and indonesia, but mining for export has been suspended in indonesia since 2014 except for few chosen integrated miners.