Guinea: Ashapura Indian takes over the Yomboyéli iron mine

After four years of shutdown, following the liquidation of its former operator, Forecariah Guinea Mining, the Yomboyéli iron mine will be taken over by the Indian company Ashapura.

Under the terms of the agreement signed on June 5 with the Guinean authorities, the new buyer has undertaken to pay off up to $25 million to the creditors of Forecariah Guinea Mining – a subsidiary of bankrupt Bellzone Mining – and to restart the operation of the mining project, located in the southwest of the country. The mining company will also rehabilitate the port of Konta and develop many other infrastructures.
This is a significant financial commitment for the Indian firm, but one that, given the specific configuration of the Yomboyéli mine, seems perfectly justified: the site – in addition to its estimated 3 million tonnes of iron reserves – is close to the coast, which will make it possible to evacuate the ores at a lower cost. This is an advantage that other mines do not have, particularly in southern Guinea. But before taking advantage of these favourable provisions, Ashapura will first have to comply with a short timetable. Under the terms of the agreement, the Indian firm, which expects to create 3,000 direct jobs, will have only 4 months to rehabilitate the port and start operating. Quoted by the local media, the Minister of Mines, Abdoulaye Magassouba, said that « this project is important for the country because it allows not only the revival of the activities of the Forécariah mine, but also the opening of new opportunities on a new corridor, through the rehabilitation of the Konta port ».

Main Guinean export products ($2.9 billion in 2017). Source: UN Comtrade

The announcement of the restart of the Yomboyéli iron mine’s activities confirms, in any case, the growing diversification of West African country’s mining exports, which are still largely dominated by bauxite (60 million tonnes exported in 2018).