Bauxite exports from Guinea's CBG suspended: sources
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CONAKRY (Reuters) - Bauxite exports from Guinea's CBG have been suspended due to further damage to the machine used to load boats, company and government officials said on Sunday.
The suspension follows a previous accident on a conveyor belt last month, which froze exports from the world's top supplier of the aluminum ore for ten days. Exports had restarted on September 20 after the earlier incident.
CBG, a joint-venture between Alcoa, Rio Tinto and the Guinean government, is the world's largest bauxite exporter company with annual shipments of around 13 million tonnes.
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"There was an accident on T1, which is the last section of the conveyor that loads the boats. This has caused a shutdown of the operation," said one source at CBG, who asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak publicly.
The source said that some of the repairs from last month's incident appeared to have been damaged when a counterweight gave way.
Kemoko Toure, managing director of CBG, said there had not been an accident but confirmed that the conveyor belt had been damaged and repairs were on-going.
The bauxite is loaded onto ships at Kamsar, some 300 km (186 miles) northwest of Conakry, Guinea's capital.
A senior official in Guinea's ministry of mines confirmed that CBG's exports had been stopped by the incident but he did not comment on the severity of the breakdown.
"There was an incident at around 2300 (GMT) last night but CBG's engineers are working to try and get things back to normal," the official said.
"These accidents should not massively affect the targets CBG have set to export 13.5 million tonnes of bauxite this year. It may end up at 13 or 13.3 million (tonnes) but the target has not been abandoned," he added.
Guinea's bauxite production rose 5.2 percent year-on-year during the first half of 2011 to 9.7 million tonnes, according to a government report, released last month.