Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium, the world’s largest ‘premium aluminium’ producer. It developed a new mine in the northwest of the Republic of Guinea, in West Africa and now exports metallurgical-grade bauxite, the ore from which aluminium is derived.
Moffatt & Nichol worked as part of an independent engineering team led by Palaris and mandated by the International Finance Corporation to review and evaluate the port terminal and transhipment elements of the project, notably technical studies and design. The evaluation covered four project phases, including preliminary due diligence of the conceptual operational approach, due diligence review of the feasibility studies (input to Environmental and Social Impact Assessment), pre-financing support activities, and post-financing activities including port and marine construction monitoring services.
Construction of the port commenced in late 2015 and was substantially complete in August 2019. Moffatt and Nichol provided monitoring services to the lenders during construction and will review operations, maintenance, and financial conditions and compliance until completion of the financing agreement.
Today, GAC’s port is all about handling and shipping overseas the bauxite produced by the company. When the trains of bauxite arrive at Kamsar, they are unloaded and, depending on current needs, the bauxite is directed by conveyors to one of two destinations: the storage area or the port for loading onto a barge.
Once loaded, the barge leaves the port and heads to a transhipment location located 37 kilometers away, in deepwater (the Guinean coast being shallow, Capesize vessels cannot be loaded at the port). Two floating cranes, equipped with clamshell grabs, are moored on either side of the Capesize vessel, allowing the bauxite to be unloaded directly from the barge into the export ship. These ocean-going vessels are approximately 300 meters long and 50 meters wide, or about the size of three football fields. They hold around 180,000 tons, which is the equivalent of 15 barge loads, and take four and a half days to load. Once fully laden, the vessel sets sail for the client's destination, and the crane operators shift their attention to the next scheduled vessel.