Full bauxite mining and production, at a rate of 1.2 million tonnes per year, is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2006

 Sierra Leone-based minerals firm Titanium Resources
Group (TRG) said on Monday that bauxite production, halted in 1995 due to
the country’s civil war, will restart early next year.

In a release it said operations had started at the company’s wholly owned
bauxite operations, which are located in the southwest some 150 km southeast
of the capital Freetown.

‘Full bauxite mining and production, at a rate of 1.2 million tonnes per
year, is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2006,’ it said.

Bauxite is used to produce alumina, an intermediate product that is smelted
in the production of primary aluminium.

TRG said it had also entered into long-term sales agreements with Alcoa
World Alumina LLC, a unit of Alcoa, the world’s largest aluminium producer,
and Swiss-based trader Glencore AG to sell the project’s full estimated annual
production.

Sierra Leone’s civil war erupted in 1991, bringing the former British colony’s
economy to a virtual halt and destroying most of its infrastructure.

The conflict in the West African country, in which 50,000 people were killed,
was declared over in 2002 after a massive UN peacekeeping operation.

TRG said refurbishment was expected to take around 20 weeks with an additional
four weeks for commissioning the facility.

Mined bauxite will be processed locally, then loaded into barges of 2,000
tonne capacity and moved down the Sherbro river to the Atlantic.

Source : za.today.reuters.com