According to the International Aluminium Institute African production totalled almost 1.43 Mt in 2003 an increase of 3.9% from 2002 (1.37 Mt). This increase was attributable to higher output in South Africa and Mozambique which offset lower output in Ghana. Capacity expansions were completed at the Mozal smelter in Mozambique and the Hillside smelter in South Africa during 2003 , whilst worsening power problems resulted in the final potline being closed at the Tema (Valco) smelter in Ghana.

Guinea, the world’s largest producer along with Australia and Jamaica, dominates African bauxite production. Guinea contains 30% world’s reserves and accounts for 94% of African bauxite production. Guinea’s production is sourced from three open pit mines: Sangaredi, Kindia and Fria. The bauxite deposits of Cameroon, Minim-Martap (900 Mt reserves) and Ngaouanda (200 million tonnes. reserves), have not yet been developed, due to poor infrastructure and low grades.

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Rio Tinto has a share through Comalco to the Boke deposit in Guinea, which produces about 12 million tonnes bauxite annually.

Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG), a joint venture between Government and Halco (whose shareholders include Alcan, Alcoa, Reynolds Metals, Pechiney, Comalco) produces the majority of Guinea’s bauxite.

Ghana’s bauxite production comes from Alcan’s 80% owned Ghana Bauxite Co which produced 700 000t in 2000.

Shaun Bakamoso

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