The first bauxite mine of the Ivory Coast has resumed its operations; subsequently, it was suspended for months due to election-related violence,
The mine started its operation previous year in the east-central Moronou region is a centrepiece of Ivory Coast’s ambitions to break-off itself towards dependence on agricultural commodities.
Bauxite production discontinued in August as violence escalated in the build-up to the 31st October presidential election.
Moumouni Bictogo, CEO, Lagune Exploitation Bongouanou (LEB), referring to workers from Europe, Asia and the United States, said: “Work has resumed, the expatriates have returned.”
He also added: “Security has been reinforced, adding that the stoppage and problems over the novel coronavirus have caused the mine to lose the equivalent of 7.6 million Euros in sales.”
“The difficulties have prompted a revision of plans to peak mine output in 2020, including exports to foreign refiners.”
“We are counting on reaching our cruising speed, not before the first quarter of 2021 and produce more than two million tonnes of bauxite ore in the next two years,” Bictogo said.
LEB also projects to transform 100,000 tonnes of bauxite ore from the third year, through a carbonization process, in order to extract a semi-finished product with added value. The 13,000-hectare site holds an estimated 245 million tonnes of bauxite ore.
Presently LEB employs 200 peoples and intents to employ 1250 staffs with the development of the project.
However, the electoral violence resulted in the death of at least 85 people and wounded nearly 500 others since August, as per the official report.
President Alassane Ouattara was re-elected to a controversial third term in the face of an opposition which boycotted the vote and called for civil disobedience.