Foreign mining companies in Guinea have until May to present local refinery plans. Guinea’s ruling junta ordered the miners to submit proposals and a timetable for the construction of bauxite refineries.
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in a meeting with stakeholders in Conakry asked that the industrialists ensure that all raw materials used in the manufacturing process be produced locally. The junta head further warned that foreign companies that violate the refinery construction deadlines will be penalized.
World’s largest reserves of bauxite
“Despite the mining boom in the bauxite sector, we have to admit that the expected revenues are below expectations, and you and we cannot continue this game of fools that perpetuates great inequality in our relations,” Colonel Doumbouya said.
With an estimated 7.4 billion tons, Guinea has the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, a mineral used in the manufacture of aluminum, which is essential for the automotive and food industries. It is also the second largest producer. China imports about half of its bauxite needs from Guinea.
Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) are Guinea’s top two bauxite producers. SMB is owned by a consortium including Singapore shipping company Winning International Group, Shandong Weiqiao – a subsidiary of the world’s top private sector aluminium producer China Hongqiao (1378.HK) – and Guinea’s UMS International.
However, the benefits to Guinea from bauxite mining and other abundant natural resources such as iron, gold and diamonds are notoriously disproportionate. Experts cite insufficient investment, lack of essential infrastructure such as roads, and rampant corruption as factors that have hindered growth.