SHANGHAI, Mar. 13 (SMM) – Shandong Nanshan Alumina Plant began to import bauxite from Guinea last December, the first plant in China to import Guinea bauxite. China’s imports of Guinea bauxite soared from 50,000 mt in December, 2012 to 340,000 mt in January 2013.
Three Chinese enterprises imported bauxite from Guinea in January. The CIF price for Guinea bauxite dropped from USD 80/mt to USD 77/mt, but was still higher than that for Australian and Indonesian bauxite.
Guinea has the world’s biggest bauxite reserve. According to statistics from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Guinea owned 7.4 billion mt of bauxite reserve in 2012, accounting for 26% of global bauxite reserve. Global aluminum giants like Rio Tinto Group, Rusal and Vale are all investing in the country.
China Power Investment Corporation and Henan International Mining Development both are planning to build alumina plants in Guinea, representing a combined investment of USD 9 billion.
Chinese alumina producers are seeking other bauxite sources to mitigate potential raw material shortages resulting from China’s largest bauxite supplier – Indonesia’s restrictions on bauxite exports. Chinese producers are eyeing bauxite in Guinea, but exorbitant freight charges will push up CIF price of Guinea bauxite, leading to higher production costs for domestic alumina producers.