France's AMR Looks to Mali as Guinea Bauxite Mine Starts Output

(Bloomberg) -- French bauxite miner Alliance Miniere Responsable said it will look for new deposits in Mali as its $200 million project in northern Guinea starts production on Tuesday.

AMR’s bauxite mine in Guinea’s Boke district is expected to increase annual output to as much as 10 million tons in the next two years, Romain Girbal, president and co-founder of the Paris-based company, said in an interview in the capital, Conakry. The asset is likely to produce 150 million tons of the aluminum-ingredient over the next 15 years.

The company will use “the experience we have in Guinea to develop another one in Mali,” Girbal said. “AMR will probably want bauxite, but we will also look at gold.”

Aluminum makers are investing in Guinea to access more than a quarter of the known bauxite reserves to fill a void left by export bans in Indonesia and Malaysia. The nation is vying with Australia as China’s main source of the ore in 2017 and is on course to become one of the world’s top three producers in the next two years.

Closely held AMR’s shareholders include former Areva SA Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon and Edouard Louis-Dreyfus, president of the shipping company that bears his name. The largest bauxite producers in Guinea include Societe Miniere de Boke and Companie Bauxite de Guinea, which each export about 15 million tons of the ore per year.

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