The Guinean government last week asked companies operating bauxite mining operations to present plans for refining alumina within its borders by May of this year.
The interim government that took power via coup in September has opted to take a harder line against foreign corporations mining in Guinea, reversing the previous government’s friendly attitude to overseas miners. Since coming to power, Mamady Doumbouya has ordered a halt to iron ore mining operations in order to clarify Guinea’s rights.
“The respect of basic agreements remains a non-negotiable for us,” said Doumbouya in a televised hearing on Friday.
“You and I can no longer continue this fool’s game that perpetuates great inequality in our relations.”
Doumbouya went on to say that Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinee (CBG) have already gone on record as supporting domestic aluminium refineries for their bauxite ore. SMB is a partnership between Singapore’s Winning International Group, China’s privately-owned Shandong Weiqiao and UMS International of Guinea. CBG is owned by a combination of Halco Mining with a 51-percent share and the Guinean government with a 49-percent share. Halco itself is owned by Rio Tinto Group and Alcoa Corp, each with a 45-percent share, and Dadco Corporation with the remaining tenth.
The new government asked bauxite mining firms to submit their proposals and “precise timetable[s]” and promised “penalties” for those firms who failed to do so.
The companies named above did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.