Drilling underway at
the Aredor diamond
mine site in Guinea
 
Conakry, Guinea — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 January 2009 – Guinea’s junta which seized power in December will respect agreements the previous government made with mining companies, although the contracts will be scrutinised to ensure they are being fully complied with by the mining companies involved.

“The signed mining contracts have value of law and are not questioned,” mines minister Mahmoud Thiam said on state-owned Radio Television Guinea in the capital. “We are, however, going to make sure that our partners respect all the clauses of their contracts.”

Guinea’s military government said earlier this month that it had created a committee to examine and revise all mining agreements in the country. The committee would also pursue individuals alleged to have been involved in corruption related to the awarding of contracts.

Thiam said the government wanted to ensure that the mining industry was a “generator of necessary and sufficient resources to contribute to the financing of the infrastructures on which we will base our development.”

Bloomberg News reports that the former French colony is the world’s fourth-largest producer of bauxite – an ore used in the production of aluminum – after Australia, Brazil and China. Bauxite and related industries account for about 80% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings.

Guinea produced 14 million metric tonnes of bauxite in 2007, according to the U.S. Geological Service. Rio Tinto Group, Alcoa Inc., United Co. Rusal and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. have operations in the country.