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Richly endowed with minerals, Guinea possesses over 25 billion metric tons of bauxite – and perhaps up to one-half of the world's reserves. In addition, Guinea's mineral wealth includes more than 4 billion metric tons of high-grade iron ore, significant diamond and gold deposits, and undetermined quantities of uranium. Guinea has considerable potential for growth in agricultural and fishing sectors. Soil, water, and climatic conditions provide opportunities for large-scale irrigated farming and agro industry. Possibilities for investment and commercial activities exist in all these areas, but Guinea's poorly developed infrastructure and rampant corruption continue to present obstacles to large-scale investment projects.

Guinea is underlain by the extensive Archaean West African craton. To the north and west of the country, younger Proterozoic rocks occur and to the east by the Birimian Supergroup, which includes greenstone belts, responsible for most of West Africa’s gold and iron ore reserves. Weathering of tertiary sediments and laterisiation has resulted in the formation of Guinea’s extensive bauxite deposits.

Bauxite & Alumina

Joint venture bauxite mining and alumina operations in northwest Guinea historically provide about 80% of Guinea's foreign exchange. The Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinea (CBG) is the main player in the bauxite industry. CBG is a joint venture, 49% owned by the Guinean Government and 51% by an international consortium led by Alcoa and Alcan. CBG exports about 14 million metric tons of high-grade bauxite annually. The Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK), a joint venture between the Government of Guinea and Russki Alumina, produces some 2.5 million metric tons annually, nearly all of which is exported to Russia and Eastern Europe. Dian Dian, a Guinean/Ukrainian joint bauxite venture, has a projected production rate of 1,000,000 tons per year, but is not expected to begin operations for several years. The Alumina Compagnie de Guinée (ACG), which took over the former Friguia Consortium, produced about 2.4 million metric tons in 2004 as raw material for its alumina refinery. The refinery exports about 750,000 metric tons of alumina. Both Global Alumina and Alcoa-Alcan have signed conventions with the Government of Guinea to build large alumina refineries with a combined capacity of about 4 million metric tons per year.

Diamond & Gold

Diamonds and gold also are mined and exported on a large scale. AREDOR, a joint diamond-mining venture between the Guinean Government (50%) and an Australian, British, and Swiss consortium began production in 1984 and mined diamonds that are 90% gem quality. Production stopped from 1993 until 1996, when First City Mining of Canada purchased the international portion of the consortium. The bulk of diamonds are mined artisanally. The largest gold mining operation in Guinea is a joint venture between the government and Ashanti Gold Fields of Ghana. SMD also has a large gold mining facility in Lero near the Malian border. Other concession agreements have been signed for iron ore, but these projects await preliminary exploration and financing results.

Mineral Law & Legislation

A new mining code introduced in mid-1995 offers a range of guarantees and tax incentives to new investors, who may now own up to 85% of any venture in Guinea.

The code is based on French Civil Law and is comparable to that of other Francophone countries in the region. The code establishes a new Government Centre of Mining Promotion and Development (CPDM) which is receiving international financial support, including substantial sums from the World Bank in order to harmonize the code with other national legislation, to undertake new surveys and to create a national database of geological information. The CPDM is supposed to be a “one stop window for investors”. Applications for mining licenses are said to be processed within two months at most.

The Guinean Mining Code lists five different mining titles:

Major Players in the industry

  • Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinea (CBG)
  • Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK)
  • Dian Dian
  • The Alumina Compagnie de Guinée (ACG)
  • Global Alumina
  • Alcoa-Alcan
  • First City Mining of Canada

Key Figures

  • Alumina production: 740 thousand metric tons (2006)
  • Bauxite Production: 15,200 thousand metric tons (2006)
  • Gold production: 15,230 kilograms(2006)
  • Hydraulic Cement production: 360 thousand metric tons (2005)

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