Guinea’s power output to rise four-fold in bauxite refining drive

The energy minister of Guinea has announced that the country expects to boost its energy production capacity nearly four-fold over the next six years, as it pushes mining companies to refine their bauxite locally.

Guinea is Africa’s biggest producer of the aluminum ore and has recently seen its bauxite production explode, predominantly on the back of demand from China. The West African nation now provides more than half of China’s bauxite imports.

However, the Guinea government is now pressuring mining companies to develop in-country facilities that will refine bauxite into higher value alumina, which is used in smelters to produce aluminum.

“Mines are, quite simply, development. And the mines can’t develop without energy,” said Minister of Energy and Hydraulics Cheick Taliby Sylla on the sidelines of a mining conference in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

Guinea currently only has power production capacity of 858MW, with much of the country having little to no access of electricity. But, Sylla said several projects are in the pipeline that will significantly boost the country’s power capacity.

“By 2025, we will have around 2,600 megawatts in terms of total production,” he said. “We can dedicate a quantity to [the mining companies] … We will guarantee that supply of energy.”