17 January 2009

Guinea announces mining reforms

BBC News, 15 January 2009

Bauxite processed at the bauxite factory of a Guinea mining firm

Guinea has reserves of bauxite, gold, diamonds, iron and nickel

Guinea's military government has announced reforms which they say will include a review of mining contracts.

Guinea has one of the world's biggest reserves of aluminium ore, and is a major exporter.

The government says it has created a new committee to examine and revise mining contracts in the country.

President Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power last month, said mining contracts under the last administration had not been in Guinea's interest.

An army captain, he led a coup on 23 December after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled since 1984.

"I commit myself to move ahead with revising the mining code and mining conventions in force, and with technical, financial and fiscal audits for the past five years by internationally regarded firms," said Mr Camara in a speech broadcast on state television, according to Reuters news agency.

Mining is the main source of state revenue in a country which has more than a third of the world's bauxite reserves.

It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel.

Mr Camara's speech came after the coup leaders named a government made up of military officers and technocrats in which soldiers hold the key finance, justice, and defence portfolios.

No representatives from political parties have been appointed.

The junta has promised to stand down and hold elections this year, according to a senior French official.

They initially said they would hold elections in 2010.

Guinea has been suspended from both the African Union and the West African regional bloc Ecowas until it holds elections.


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