In the bauxite mines of Guinea-Conakry
In Guinea-Conakry, Colas is constructing the infrastructures required for bauxite mining operations. Beneath the surface of Guinea-Conakry are thought to lie half of the world’s bauxite reserves, i.e. some 25 billion tons. The rock has a very high alumina content which is easy to extract in open-cast mines. The Tinguilinta mine will be operated by Bouygues Travaux Publics on behalf of Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), the Guinean subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA). We take a look at a complex project and an amazing human adventure in Tinguilinta and Kamsar, northwest of Conakry.
Extract of Routes 41 - october 2018
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Colas in Africa, a recognized expertise : GAC chose Colas Africa and Colas Projects to build the infrastructures required to mine, crush, store and transport the ore: a storage platform, five bridges including one that is 200 meters in length straddling a sea inlet, mining site access roads, 18 km of railroad tracks, with two branch lines to link the site to the existing railroad, which takes bauxite to the port of Kamsar 120 km away, an equipment maintenance zone, a dam and a water distribution system. “Signed in October 2016 and worth around 150 million dollars, this is an exceptional project for Colas on more than one level. It’s a complex, multi-faceted mining project. And it’s the Group’s first foray into Guinea-Conakry”, comments Benoît Chauvin, International Business Development Manager. On the ground, Colas Africa assembled a sizable fleet of machinery in record time. More than 300 machines – bulldozers, compactors, graders, crushing equipment and hydraulic excavators – were transported from Benin, Ivory Coast and South Africa. 1,200 people are working on the site, 80% of whom are Guineans hired locally and trained by Colas managers from Ivory Coast, Benin, North Africa and France.
Complementary know-how for a complex project : “The Tinguilinta project is a fine illustration of the strategic “One Colas” initiative (read article page 54) launched by the Group: pooling our expertise to meet a challenge. Synergies have operated between the different types of expertise (design, purchasing, logistics, construction, quality, legal and project control), as well as between the local experience of Colas Africa and the international experience of Colas Projects”, points out Laurent Juillard, Colas Projects Operations Manager. On the ground, Colas has called in two subsidiaries: Spac, for pipeline work, and Colas Rail, for the railroad. As Olivier Dupré, Spac’s Water, Civil Engineering and Maritime Works Manager, underlines: “We’ve contributed our technical know-how and benefited from Colas Africa’s logistics support. That’s enabled us to work in a country where we would never have been able to operate without this synergy.” Spac’s team laid 8 km of pipelines and installed pumping facilities downstream of the dam in the Tiouladi valley and the Tinguilinta river to bring river water to the mine. “Since the first pipeline had to cross a 100-meter wide river, teams had to build a suspension bridge with a span of 120 meters in record time”, adds Olivier Dupré. For its part, Colas Rail laid 18 km of rail track: 10 km on the Kamsar port site and 8 km in Tinguilinta. More than 75,000 tons of ballast were transported to the site, along with 14,500 tons of various machines and plant: the concrete sleepers came from Portugal, South Africa provided the 22 points and France supplied the 1,800 tons of rails.