Côte d’Ivoire enters the circle of bauxite producing countries. The first-ever Bauxite mine officially went into operation on Monday, April 16th.
Located in the Moronou region, in the east of the country, the Bauxite mine, exploited in the Bénéné forest, is an important deposit of 300 km2 now estimated at 35 million tonnes of ore. LEB, Lagune Exploitation Bougouanou, the “Ivorian-owned” company headed by Michel Moumouni Bictogo, has announced a global investment of CFAF 218 billion, or € 3,332.3 million, for the development of the deposit that will take place in three phases.
During the first 5 years, LEB will produce calcined bauxite from the mined raw ore, a semi-finished merchantable product with an 80% alumina content. Then, in 2023, a powder alumina production plant will be created, generating a product with a content of 90 to 97% of alumina. Finally, in 2025, LEB will complete its device with a production unit of high purity alumina. Recall that alumina, the product to market, is the main raw material that goes into the production of aluminum metal.
The deposit, whose operating life is 20 years (or more), “will generate 743 direct jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs during the first two phases of the project’s evolution,” said Michel Bictogo. And, in terms of direct impact for neighboring communities, it is “nearly 9 billion FCFA” that will be paid during the first phase of operation, he added.
With this first bauxite mine, Côte d’Ivoire is accelerating the exploitation of its subsoil, which has only recently begun to reveal its full potential. The country has 6 gold mines, 4 manganese mines, a nickel mine, as well as artisanal diamond mining sites. And in the west, a large iron ore deposit, estimated at 4 billion tons, is awaiting exploitation.