15 Jun 2010 16:22

Rusal agrees with Guinean authorities on terms for bauxite field development

MOSCOW. June 15 (Interfax) - United Company RUSAL (UC RUSAL) has reached a fundamental agreement with the Guinean authorities on a schedule and the terms for developing the Dian Dian bauxite field, the Russian aluminum giant said.

Rusal's CEO, Oleg Deripaska, was quoted as saying the Guinean project was of strategic importance to Rusal and that the company did not plan to scale down bauxite or alumina production at its enterprises there.

Deripaska discussed the need to extend the tax and customs regimes applicable to the Friguia bauxite and alumina complex during a meeting with the prime minister and acting president of Guinea.

A Rusal delegation in Guinea also held talks with Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), at which agreement was reached to form a tri-lateral commission on the joint use of railways and a port, and transport and lading facilities owned by CBG.

Rusal's ACG/Friguia complex is capable of producing 1.9 million tonnes of bauxite per year. Rusal also runs the Kindia bauxite company. Guinean bauxite accounts for 63% of Rusal's total.

Rusal put the start of operations at the Dian Dian field on hold in September 2008 due to the economic crisis. The company intended to delay the start by a year at most. Rusal had not yet assigned funding to the planned construction of an alumina refinery to be fed by the Dian Dian ores.

Rusal has been thinking of developing the project since 2001, when it signed a concession with Guinea's government.

Dian Dian contains around 1 billion tonnes of high-grade, near-surface bauxite ore. A feasibility study, performed back in 2001, calls for the construction of a mine, refinery, seaport, railway, power plant and other infrastructure. The project's costs were estimated at $1.73 billion at the time. Later reports said two phases of the alumina refinery, capacity 1.4 million tonnes of alumina each, would be built.

Guinea possesses two thirds of the world's known bauxite reserves.