Semafo Plans to Build $230 Million Hydroelectric Power Plant in Guinea

Semafo Inc. (SMF), a Canadian gold producer that mines in West Africa, plans to build a hydroelectric power plant in Guinea, said Mody Oury Barry, head of the project.

The $230 million, 130-megawatt plant will be constructed on the Cogon river, which is in the bauxite-rich region of Boke, Barry said in an interview in Conakry, the capital, yesterday.

“Guinea has hydroelectric potential which is not exploited,” he said. “If the country wants to develop this potential, it has to be supported by the private sector.”

The energy project will be separate from Semafo’s Kiniero gold mine, which is located about 650 kilometers (404 miles) east of Conakry. The electricity will be used by the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, a miner of the ore used in aluminum jointly owned by the Guinea government and Halco Mining, as well as a partner in the project, Barry said. Power will also be supplied to local villages and other miners in the area.

The World Bank’s lending arm, the International Finance Corp. and Electricite de Guinee, the state-owned utility, will also fund the power plant, he said.

Production will start at the end of 2012, with completion three years later, he said.

Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based Semafo also mines for gold in Burkina Faso and Niger. Its shares closed 1.6 percent higher at C$7.73 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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