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Cosco Shipping to order 25 capesize vessels to move bauxite from Guinea to China

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Chinese Cosco Shipping Cop. is in discussion with shipyards in China to order about 25 large ships to ship bauxite from the West African country of Guinea to China for using in the alumina refineries.

The development is an extension of a plan by state aluminium major Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) to invest US$700 million in Guinea’s Boffa bauxite project to secure supply of the raw material over the next decade. Cosco is working towards increasing its fleet on the back of a long-term contract it signed with Chalco to move bauxite to China from Guinea.

Guinea has the potential to be the largest Bauxite supplier in the world with 7.4 billion bauxite reserve which is about 25% of the world’s total bauxite reserves. The country accounts for 95% of African bauxite production and 15% of world bauxite production. Lately, with the increase of alumina and bauxite demand from China, and mining bans in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, there is a renew interest in Guinea bauxite. Aluminium firms from the U.S., China, Middle East and Russia are trying to procure its massive bauxite-ore deposits.

“Cosco is looking for seven ships at the start and the tally will likely be more than 25 vessels…They will move around six million (metric) tons of bauxite in the first phase, which will more than double as mine production rumps up,” a source said.

According to shipyard officials Cosco would order capesize vessels, the biggest ships that move commodities such as bauxite and iron via sea route and the order would cost around $1.5 billion.

Chalco announced in May that it will initially invest $164 million in a bauxite mine, a mining port and transportation facilities at Boffa, a coastal town in Guinea.

The order by Cosco Bulk Shipping, the dry-bulk arm of Cosco Shipping, is set to be completed next year and the first ships will be delivered in 2021. The company wants to depend on its own fleet rather than procuring chartered ships from foreign owners.

Chalco has been involved in Guinea mining since 2012 as a partner of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto at the Simandou iron-ore project, in which it holds a 40% stake. Now it is venturing into bauxite mining to procure bauxite for its aluminium operations.
Source: AI Circle

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