Guinea strike halts CBG bauxite shipments – Alcoaadmin
Guinea’s general strike has halted all shipments of bauxite from the world’s biggest bauxite exporter, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), its operator Alcoa Inc. said on Monday.
Company officials in the West African country, the top bauxite exporter, had previously said ship loading operations could continue for around a week using security stocks, but Alcoa spokesman Kevin Lowery said activities were at stopped.
“If you can’t … get the bauxite from the mine to the port, it doesn’t matter how much stockpiles you have, you need to be getting the bauxite,” Lowery said.
Guinea’s unions called an indefinite general strike starting on Jan. 10, demanding an end to what it calls the increasingly erratic rule of President Lansana Conte, an ailing diabetic in his seventies who seized power in a 1984 coup.
Lowery said workers at CBG had been on strike for three or four days, bringing to a halt bauxite mining, drying, rail transportation and ship loading operations.
“We are looking at the situation and looking at options to get portions restarted again, but obviously we won’t do that unless everything is safe to do so,” Lowery said.
lcoa runs CBG through its Halco venture with Canada’s Alcan and privately owned Dadco. Halco owns 51 percent of CBG. Guinea’s government holds the rest.
CBG produces just over 14 million tonnes of wet bauxite a year from its mine in the northwest Boke region, and exports some 13 million tonnes of dried bauxite per year, making it the world’s top exporter.
“From an Alcoa standpoint we have contingency plans in place … that will help mitigate this situation for Alcoa,” Lowery said.
Guinea has 30 percent of the world’s known bauxite reserves and is the top exporter of the ore refined to make alumina which is in turn smelted to make aluminium metal. Australia produces more bauxite, but refines a greater proportion of it at home.
In Moscow, aluminium producer RUSAL said its operations in Guinea have so far not been affected by the general strike.