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Guinea Presidential Candidates Pledge Review of Mining Accords

May 26, 2010

Bloomberg
Guinea Presidential Candidates Pledge Review of Mining Accords
May 26, 2010, 1:22 PM EDT 
  

By Alpha Camara

May 26 (Bloomberg) — Three of Guinea’s presidential candidates pledged to review mining contracts that aren’t favorable to the West African nation if they win elections scheduled for next month.

Guinea is the world’s biggest exporter of bauxite, a raw material used in aluminum production. Companies including United Co. Rusal, the largest aluminum producer, Vale SA, the No. 1 iron-ore producer, and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., the world’s third-biggest gold miner, have operations in the country.

Alpha Conde, the head of the Rally for the Guinean People, said he would examine all mining contracts if he comes to power.

“I shall see the contracts which are good and those who are not for the country,” he said in a debate broadcast on state- owned Radio Television Guineenne yesterday. “We are simply going to revise all the bad contracts so that the Guinean people can take advantage of their immense wealth.”

Guinea holds as much as half of the world’s reserves of bauxite, more than 4 billion metric tons of “high-grade” iron ore, “significant” diamond and gold deposits and undetermined quantities of uranium, according to the U.S. State Department’s website.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, head of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea and a former prime minister, and Sidya Toure, leader of the Union of Republican Forces and also a former premier, echoed Conde’s promise.

“It is a question of verifying if certain contracts are not to the advantage of the country and to revise them,” Diallo said. “If contracts are done well, the country can benefit from enough funds and the young people will have some work.”

Guinea is being run by a transition council that was appointed after General Sekouba Konate ousted the country’s former military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, in December. Konate’s junta and opposition leaders signed an accord in January that provided for the establishment of a unity government and a national vote to be held next month.

–Editors: Paul Richardson, Alastair Reed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alpha Camara in Conakry via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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