Guinea is in advanced talks with state-owned China Power Investment to develop a bauxite mine and build an alumina refinery, deep water port and a power plant in the West African state, Guinean government sources said.
One source, who asked not to be named, said the project, which is in Boffa, some 120 km (75 miles) west of the capital, Conakry, and could begin as soon as 2012, would cost $5.8 billion.
Guinea, already the world's top bauxite exporter, is also rich in iron ore and gold and has attracted billions of dollars in investment as it seeks to put decades of misrule behind it.
We are indeed in talks with China Power Investment for the construction of an alumina refinery that will have a 4 million tonne per year capacity, Guillaume Curtis, secretary general in the ministry of mines, told Reuters.
Curtis said CPI had completed a first feasibility study on the project, which the government had analysed.
A second source, who also asked not to be named, put the project's price tag at $5.8 billion and said that CPI would operate in Guinea as CPI International Minerals Investment Corporation.
The plan is to open a bauxite mine in the region, build an alumina refinery, a deep water port at Bel Air, housing for the employees and a coal-fired power station with a capacity of 270 MW, the source said.
Elections last year have led to the restoration of civilian rule although an assassination bid on president Alpha Conde last month underscored simmering tensions.
Guinea currently only has one alumina refinery, a 640,000-tonne-a-year plant at Friguia operated by RUSAL but major mining firms have flocked to the country.
Guinea Alumina Corporation, which brings together BHP Billiton , Global Alumina (GLAu.TO), Dubai Aluminium Co and Mubadala Developments, has a project that includes a 3.3-million tonne-per-year alumina refinery.