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BHP buys stake in Guinea bauxite project

TSX-listed Global Alumina Corporation announced that negotiations to enter into a joint venture with an affiliate of BHP Billiton, Dubai Aluminium

Diversified miner BHP Billiton has acquired a 33,3% stake in Global Alumina’s Sangaredi refinery project, in Guinea, for $140-million, the company said over the weekend.

The project comprises the design, construction and operation of a three-million tons a year alumina refinery, nine-million tons a year bauxite mine, and associated infrastructure.

Global Alumina would hold a 33,3% equity interest in the Sangaredi refinery project, Dubai Aluminium Company Limited a 25% stake and Mubadala Development Company PJSC will own 8,3%.

BHP Billiton said in a statement that a mining concession covering 690 km2 had been secured and a mineral resource of 233-million tons of bauxite (at 39% available alumina and 1% reactive silica) had been reported.

“This is considered sufficient to support the development, but further exploration work is underway to increase the resource size,” it said.

The proposed refinery site is about 100 km inland from Kamsar, where it will have access to existing rail infrastructure linking it to the Port of Kamsar. Dedicated facilities at the port are already under construction.

"This project provides the joint venture partners with access to a long life, low cost, world class resource base and represents an excellent opportunity for BHP Billiton to continue to grow its business in a value accretive manner,” BHP Billiton head of aluminium operations Graeme Hunt commented.

"In view of BHP Billiton’s other exploration interests in Guinea, this project also offers us valuable experience of operating in this first tier minerals province," he added.

As part of the agreement, BHP Billiton would appoint CEO and CFO of the joint-venture company and would enter into a services agreement with the venture for the development, construction and operation of the project.

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