Guinea approves BHP, Global Alumina stake sale in refinery project
CONAKRY May 22 (Reuters) - The government of Guinea said on Wednesday it has given approval to BHP Billiton and Global Alumina to sell their stake in a bauxite and alumina project to Dubai Aluminium Co (Dubal) and Mubadala Development Co.
BHP paid $140 million in 2007 for a 33.3 percent stake in the Guinea Alumina Corp (GAC), which planned to develop the Sangaredi alumina refinery with a planned capacity of 3.6 million tonnes a year.
BHP said last year it was looking to sell the stake as it restructured its aluminium division in the face of weak global demand.
U.S.-based Global Alumina also held a 33.3 percent stake in the company. Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) currently owns 25 percent and the Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle Mubadala has 8.33 percent.
"We have no objection to ... Dubal and Mubadala taking control of GAC," Mining Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana said in a letter to GAC's board. "We are willing to discuss with you how to relaunch this project as soon as the transaction is completed."
Karim Karjan, the chairman of GAC's board, said that BHP and Global Alumina would transfer their stakes in GAC to a holding company jointly owned by Mubadala and Dubal, pending government approval.
The holding company, DM GAV, will pay Global Alumina a $2 billion signing-on fee and $36 million when the deal is completed, which is expected before the end of August.
"The government approved the sale of the shares in GAC to Dubal and Mubadala because it opens up better opportunities for this project," said government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara. "We hope this new situation will accelerate construction of the refinery."