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Guinea signs alumina refinery deal with Emirates Global Aluminium subsidiary

CONAKRY (Reuters)—Guinea has signed a non-binding agreement with a subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium for the construction of a major alumina refinery, the second one in the country, two senior officials of Guinea's mines ministry told Reuters.

The agreement, known as a "Term Sheet," said the company, through its Guinea Alumina Corp. (GAC), will build the 2-metric MMt capacity refinery by September 2026 in the west of the country. Initial production is expected at 1.2-metric MMtpy.

Guinea, Africa's biggest producer of the aluminium ore has been seeking to channel its mineral wealth into economic development and has pressured companies to build local facilities to refine bauxite into higher value alumina.

Around $4 B is expected to be invested in the project, one of the officials told Reuters. Both requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak. One of the mines ministry official added that GAC will partner with Aluminium Corp. of China (Chinalco) on the project.

A source at GAC confirmed the deal. The company said on its website on June 3 that it had signed a framework agreement with Chinalco, "progressing their cooperation on the development of an alumina refinery in the Republic of Guinea." "The companies now intend to further jointly progress the project's feasibility and joint investment," the statement on its website said.

Emirates Global Aluminium did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Emirati company began operating in Guinea in 2019 and exported around 14 million metric tons of bauxite in 2022.

The West African nation has one alumina refinery so far, the Friguia refinery owned by Russian aluminium giant Rusal.

Since seizing power in a coup in 2021, Guinea's military junta under Mamady Doumbouya, has pushed companies in Guinea's mining sector to invest further in the value chain by building refineries.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb Writing by Bate Felix; editing by David Evans)

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