CONAKRY, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Guinea has asked state-owned China Power Investment (CPI) to build a 340 MW coal-fired power plant in the electricity-starved west African state, its mines minister said.
The project is part of ongoing negotiations between Guinea and CPI over the potential development of a bauxite mine in Boffa and construction of an alumina refinery and deepwater port, source have said.
“We have asked China Power Investment to build a 240 MW thermal power plant powered by coal to which they will join up another 100 MW plant,” Mines Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana said on state television.
Fofana, one of the Guinean officials who is with President Alpha Conde on a trip to China, gave no details on the financing or timing of the project.
“We have visited a 2,000 MW power plant (in China) that doesn’t even emit dust. It is only water vapour that we see. We’ve asked them to do the same thing in Guinea, only in miniature,” he said.
CPI has three bauxite exploration permits in Guinea and has said it has found 900 million tonnes of reserves.
Guinea is the world’s largest exporter of the aluminium ore, and has vast deposits of iron ore that have drawn billions of dollars in planned investments by companies such as Rio Tinto and Vale .
CPI is negotiating with the Guinean government to open a bauxite mine to develop the Boffa reserves, build an alumina refinery to process it and a deepwater port for exports for a total $5.8 billion.
Despite its vast mineral wealth, Guinea’s 10 million people face routine blackouts and a power generation capacity shortage is seen slowing mining investment. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis)