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Global Alumina’s principle asset is its one-third, joint-controlling interest in Guinea Alumina Corporation, which holds a concession to mine bauxite and build one or more world-class alumina refineries in the Republic of Guinea in West Africa.
Global Alumina’s long-term goal is to capture a significant share of the growing demand for alumina through refinery development and expansion in Guinea. Guinea Alumina’s first refinery, with a design capacity of 3.3 million metric tons-per-year is configured to accommodate a 10 percent physical expansion within five years bringing it to a steady state capacity of 3.6 million metric tons and gradually reach a 3.95 million metric ton capacity over its lifespan through operations improvements. Guinea Alumina also has the prospect of building a second like-sized refinery within its current concession and has commenced second refinery site studies. The new alumina port terminal area is designed to accommodate alumina throughput of more than 10 million tons per year.
Though the refinery, configured initially with two processing lines, is expected to be initially capable of producing 3.3 million metric tons annually, its annual production capacity is expected to reach the refinery's nominal capacity of 3.6 million metric tons within five years as a steady state and gradually increase to a capacity of 3.95 million metric tons through its life as the operating staff gain experience. The refinery layout is configured to accommodate a third processing line which if built would increase the refinery's total nominal capacity to over 5.4 million metric tons per year.
The initial phase of Guinea Alumina’s first alumina refinery, originally planned with two processing lines, is expected to have an initial annual production of 3.3 million metric tons. The site is approximately 14 kilometers north of the country’s existing 20 million metric tons-per-year rail line that extends approximately 100 kilometers west to the existing port of Kamsar. For the first 25 years, bauxite would be drawn from the three closest of the 19 bauxite-bearing plateaus within its concession area.
Prior to formation of the joint venture in May 2007, Guinea Alumina had spent $220.5 million on the Project. The Joint Venture spent an additional $96.8 million through the remainder of 2007, and an additional $227.6 million in 2008, bringing the cumulative Project expenditures through December 31, 2008 to $544.9 million. Currently, the board of directors of Guinea Alumina approve a Project budget and work plan on a month by month basis. The board of directors of Guinea Alumina has approved a work plan and budget of $15.6 million for the month of January 2009, $15.8 million for the month of February 2009 and $12.3 million for the month of March 2009. To date, the port terminal area has been cleared and filled and all affected people comfortably resettled. A contract has been let to build an upgraded commercial container quay at the port, a new 100-meter road bridge is under construction at Boke to clear the only road transportation bottleneck from the port of Kamsar to the refinery site, and the pioneer construction is camp built and operating. Access roads to the refinery, township and quarry sites have been completed. The quarry is opened, rock crushing equipment and a concrete batching plant installed; earthworks have begun for the rail spur and at the refinery site. Storm water pond blasting and dyke construction is underway, pile testing is progressing, 15,000 metric tons of steel piles have been procured for refinery foundation and pile driving should commence in October. Finally, resettlement at the refinery site has begun and a vocational training program has been funded and is in final planning stages.
Guinea Alumina retained Bechtel, which conducted a verification study for BHP Billiton, DUBAL and Mubadala, to complete a bankable feasibility study. The Feasibility Study was delivered to the board of directors of Guinea Alumina on March 13, 2008. It confirmed the economic viability of the Project at that time and recommended approval by the Shareholders to proceed to the execution phase. The Feasibility Study will form the basis for the Project Development Plan which will also include a detailed timetable for Project implementation as well as a financing plan and associated equity drawdown schedule. A Development Plan was tabled for consideration at a meeting of the joint venture's board of directors on June 2, 2008 but approval was deferred. On January 23, 2009 the Joint Venture board of directors again deferred consideration of a Development Plan and directed Project management to commence a comprehensive review of the Project with the intention to examine ways to capture cost reduction opportunities provided by a cooling world economic climate. A revised Development Plan, including a new Project timetable, will be considered at a future meeting of the board of directors of Guinea Alumina.
Global Alumina also owns Aluminpro Aluminium Industry Professionals, Inc., an international consulting firm based in Canada with about 30 senior professionals with considerable knowledge and world-class operating and managerial experience in the upstream aluminum industry. Aluminpro supports Global Alumina’s interests and efforts through considerable early-stage conceptual engineering and ongoing technical management contributions. See www.aluminpro.com.