Moussa Magassouba, the director general of AngloGold Ashanti’s (JSE: ANG) (NYSE: AU) has been named by Guinea’s junta as the country’s mines and geology minister, two months after the army unit overthrew President Alpha Conde.
Magassouba, a western educated mining engineer and fluent English speaker, has more than 20 years’ of experience in the industry. He joined AngloGold Guinea in 2016 and held the role of managing director. Experts, such as Eric Humphery-Smith, Africa analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, believe Magassouba’s nomination is a positive step towards putting mining executives’ minds to rest.
“The fact that Magassouba is a pure technocrat, with no obvious political experience, is reassuring for operators. It also proves that the National Rallying Committee for Development (CNRD), one of the four institutions or figures in charge of the transition is attentive to industry stakeholders,” Humphery-Smith wrote
Abé Sylla, a United States-based businessman, has been appointed as energy and hydrocarbons minister, while artist Alpha Soumah was named culture minister. Guinea is the world’s top exporter of bauxite, which is refined into alumina and then smelted to produce aluminium. The reddish ore accounts for most of the West African nation’s mining exports, though the country also has vast deposits of iron ore, gold and diamonds.
While the coup has been condemned by Guinea’s neighbours and exacerbated concerns about supply constraints that pushed aluminum prices to the highest level in 13 years, the junta took early steps to reassure miners.