International consortium to mine for phosphates in Guinea Bissau

27 September 2006

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 27 Sept – An international consortium led by GB Phosphates Mining plans to invest US$105 million in phosphate mining in the Farim region in the north of Guinea Bissau, the Guinean Natural Resources Minister said in Bissau Tuesday.

Aristides Ocante da Silva and consortium chairman, Leonce Aspelin, said in a joint pres conference to present the project publicly that the work would begin in October, and mining was expected to being in the third quarter of 2008.

The consortium has guaranteed that it will comply with all international standards and regulations and “entirely” respect the local environment, as initial studies have indicated that the region has a potential of 166 million tons of phosphates in a seam that could be up to 30 meters deep.

The feasibility study carried out by the consortium, which involves companies from Switzerland, Austria, South Africa, Norway and, now, Guinea Bissau, concluded that the existing reserve in Guinea Bissau would make it possible to mine for phosphates for 35 to 40 years.

The project will make it possible to develop road and river infrastructures, particularly the construction of bridges over the river Cacheu, both in Sao Vicente (70 kilometers north of Bissau), and in Farim (130 kilometers north of the capital) and the use of vessels to transport the product.

The construction of the mine will also make it possible to develop sanitation and educational infrastructures as schools and health centers will be built in the region, which is just over 20 kilometers from the northern border of Guinea Bissau with Senegal.

The Natural Resources Minister also said that in Boé studies were being carried out to create a bauxite mine, which will be transported through a deep water port to be built in Buba, some 220 kilometers south (macauhub)