Conakry, Guinea — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 April 2008 – A third African country is in the process of pressurising for re-negotiation of contracts with foreign mining companies – including Russian giant Rusal – to obtain a bigger share of their profits, in the wake of increasing commodity prices. The country concerned is the West African state of Guinea – holder of the world’s largest bauxite reserves.
Quoting Yamoussa Bangoura – president of Circam, the responsible government committee – Bloomberg News confirms that the government of Guinea will be reviewing mining contracts.
This move by Guinea follows hard on the heels of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have just reviewed agreements with foreign companies to mine Africa’s natural resources, because the seven-year boom in prices has created record earnings for the industry. The price of aluminum, the commodity made from bauxite, more than doubled during the past five years to $3,080 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
“It is not our goal to cancel an agreement with any company,” Bangoura told Bloomberg in the Guinean capital. “There has been no resistance to coming back to the negotiating table. We do not expect any big difficulties in coming to solutions,” he insisted.
Almost 50 percent of Guinea’s 10.2 million people live in poverty, according to data compiled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. American Geological Survey statistics show that the country has 7.4 billion metric tons of bauxite reserves, or 30 percent of the global total.
Strikes and protests over foreign ownership of the mining industry in Guinea led to the deaths of 113 people last year.