In Article, Alpha Conde Writes that Guinea’s Agenda Mirrors that of the G-8: If So, Then the G-8 is About to Crash and Burn

Conde, the “anti-corruption,” fighter disses “unscrupulous mining companies” and “rogue actors” for corrupting and destabilizing Guinea politically, causing “regrettable violence – including tragic deaths – that have recently affected our country.”   As he heads to the G-8 “Trade, Transparency and Taxation” conference in London, Conde’s ghost writer has painted a picture that might earn him a slap on the back by PM David Cameron, but few Guineans would recognize the man portrayed here.

There’s only one Conde. He is the one the majority of Guineans have been protesting over the last two years.  His anti-corruption facade is a joke in Guinea because he has his own substantial corruption problems.  How can he call violence in Guinea “regrettable” when he is the one who orders security forces to commit summary executions against unarmed protesters and directs his security forces and private militias to commit violent attacks against the Peul ethnic group.

Unfortunately, for the good, proud people of Guinea, this is the only Conde there is.

 

OPINION – COLUMNISTS

The country needs the support of developed nations in building a global business climate that permits those who play by the rules to prosper
  • By Alpha Condé, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 20:00 June 13, 2013
  • Gulf News
  • Image Credit: Agency
  • Alpha Condé President of Guinea

In December 2010, I became President of Guinea following the country’s first truly open and democratic elections. I said then that I had inherited a country, not a state. Our economy was in ruins, our people were among the world’s poorest, and our political system had been weakened by decades of corruption, dictatorship, and misrule.

It needn’t be so. Guinea has vast mineral wealth, the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, and some of the highest-grade iron-ore deposits.

Making these assets work for all of our people, rather than only for a few unscrupulous international mining companies and politicians, requires confronting the deeply ingrained corruption found in Guinea’s politics and business. But uprooting such corruption can be painfully slow, and is often dangerous. After all, vested interests do not welcome challenges.

Compared to developed countries, rogue actors do disproportionate damage in a country like Guinea. Lack of transparency and endemic economic corruption do not mean only unpaid taxes and a lack of competition; they also corrode the political process and undermine our emerging democracy. It impedes change and opens the door to frustration and the kind of political tension and regrettable violence – including tragic deaths – that have recently affected our country.

That is why, on Saturday, I will join British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-8’s Trade, Transparency, and Taxation conference in London. Guinea’s current agenda mirrors that of the G-8. We both want to work with companies that play by the rules, operate transparently, and pay their taxes.

But there can be no future in the questionable – and often criminal – deals of the past. Our population is young – 70% are under 25. They are eager for change and have no interest in perpetuating the old culture of corruption. Their future is both our hope and our responsibility.

That future will be built on healthy partnerships between government and the private sector, a commitment to strengthening democracy and transparency, and a focus on using our resource wealth to achieve higher living standards for our people.

We have already made much progress. Guinea has signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), along with the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Norway, and the United States. We are developing new, equal, and long-term partnerships with responsible global mining companies that ensure a long-term commitment to creating jobs and sustainable, long-term benefits for both sides.

We have also insisted on reviewing the legality of mining contracts signed by Guinea’s previous undemocratic and military regimes, and we have published all of these contracts online for the world to see.

What we need now is the support of developed countries in building a global business climate that permits those who play by the rules to prosper and locks out those who do not. Too many of the world’s financial centers enable the predators, who rely on offshore corporate vehicles to mask their identities, to loop their finances through exotic jurisdictions, while using prestigious law firms, accountants, financial advisers, and public-relations firms to give their destructive behaviour a veneer of respectability.

This has created a greenhouse in which corruption grows and flourishes, posing a mortal threat to Africa. Guinea will work closely with the American FBI, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, and other law enforcement agencies to expose and root out criminality that threatens the integrity of global markets and African democracy alike.

Guinea appreciates the aid that it receives from the developed world. I hope that donors understand when I say that, while we currently need their assistance, we do not want it. We see our anti-corruption agenda as being simultaneously pro-business and pro-development. We do not want to live in dependence on the generosity of others when our resources can make us prosperous, healthy, and strong.

When I meet with Cameron, I will not ask him for British taxpayers’ money. I will ask, instead, that he continue to demonstrate global leadership on transparency and good business governance, which promise to benefit not just countries like Guinea, but Britain and the world as well.

—Project Syndicate, 2013.

Alpha Condé is President of Guinea

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Guinea: US Probe into Steinmetz Mining Corruption Case May Involve Several People, Including Guineans

Late Guinea President Wife Said to Assist Steinmetz Probe

The wife of former Guinea President Lansana Conte is helping the U.S. investigate whether a company controlled by billionaire Beny Steinmetz paid bribes to win an iron-ore deposit, a person with knowledge of the probe said.

Mamadie Toure is assisting the U.S. in its investigation of BSG Resources Ltd., said the person, who asked not to be named as the information is confidential. Guinea has accused BSGR of agreeing to pay Toure, and companies linked to her, $5 million to help it win the permit in 2008, according to an Oct. 30 letter to BSGR’s local joint venture and seen by Bloomberg.

Former Mines Minister Mahmoud Thiam and Ibrahima Kassory Fofana, former finance and economy minister, are people tied to the U.S. probe, according to the person. Both reside in the U.S. Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment on the investigation.

Steinmetz, 57, is Israel’s richest person with a net worth of about $8.5 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires analysis. His BSG Investments has interests in mining, real estate and capital markets, according to its website.

“Allegations of fraud in obtaining our mining rights in Guinea are entirely baseless,” Steinmetz’s company said yesterday by e-mail. “We are confident that BSGR’s position in Guinea will be fully vindicated.”

BSGR denied making payments to Toure in a March 15 letter to the government. A call to Toure’s house in Jacksonville, Florida, failed to reach her.

Kassory Fofana

Kassory Fofana, who said he was minister from 1996 to 1999, denied involvement in any wrongdoing in connection with BSGR, saying “I don’t know anything about any payments of any sort” when reached by telephone in Washington, Thiam’s mobile phone was switched off and wouldn’t take messages.

The allegations of bribery follow the arrest of a man alleged by Guinea to have links to BSGR who was charged with plotting to destroy documents and induce a witness to give false testimony to a grand jury investigating potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in federal court in New York.

Between March and April 14, Frederic Cilins allegedly offered to pay the witness, described as the former wife of a now-deceased high-ranking Guinea government official, to deliver documents subpoenaed by the jury and documents requested by the FBI so he could destroy them, according to the complaint.

Toure, Conte

She’s cooperating in the hope of obtaining immunity for her own potential criminal conduct, the complaint states. Toure was the fourth wife of former President Conte, who died in 2008.

BSGR acquired rights to part of the Simandou project, one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits, after Rio Tinto Group was ordered by the government to give up a section of its license area. BSGR subsequently sold 51 percent of its Simandou stake to Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE5) in 2010 for $2.5 billion.

Guinea last year started its own probe into how Guernsey- based BSGR gained control of the license. The company may have bribed Toure to obtain exploration permits, including for Blocks 1 and 2 at Simandou, Guinea officials alleged in the Oct. 30 letter.

The Guinea government alleged that it had obtained information that BSGR paid Toure $2.5 million and agreed on a contract with her to pay a further $2.5 million for her help in securing the agreements, according to the letter.

“The U.S. indictments may give the Guinean government valuable leverage in its own investigation into the 2008 deal, which could potentially allow it to earn billions of dollars by recovering the rights and improve its battered reputation,” Martin Roberts, an analyst at IHS Global Insight Ltd., said in an April 17 report.

Strip Rights

BSGR said last month that Guinea was preparing to strip its joint venture with Vale of its mining rights in the country. The venture’s Simandou development includes a planned $10 billion iron-ore mine.

Vale, the world’s third-biggest mining company, is “deeply concerned” about the allegations and intends to cooperate fully with the governments of the U.S. and Guinea, it said in an April 16 statement.

Cilins, 50, was arrested in Jacksonville on April 14 and faces charges of tampering with a witness, obstructing an investigation and destroying or falsifying records in a federal probe. The obstruction charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and the record-destruction charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Frederic Cilins

Guinean Justice Minister Christian Sow said in an April 16 statement issued by the office of President Alpha Conde that Cilins was an agent of BSGR. The company said in an e-mailed statement that Cilins isn’t one of its 6,000 employees.

The federal grand-jury investigation concerns transfers of money into the U.S. from outside the country as part of a scheme to obtain mining concessions in Guinea including in the Simandou region, according to the complaint.

After a military junta took control of Guinea following Conte’s death, BSGR regularly made payments to senior members of the military through Thiam, the mines minister at the time, according to the Oct. 30 letter.

Steinmetz, a Swiss resident with dual French and Israeli nationality, started his career in the family diamond business, Steinmetz Diamonds, which provides rough and polished stones from facilities in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and New York.

The case is U.S. v. Cilins, 13-mj-00975, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Jesse Riseborough in London at jriseborough@bloomberg.net; Franz Wild in Johannesburg at fwild@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

Guinea Mining: Did George Soros Smear Miner, Beny Steinmetz (BSGR), by Claiming He Was Involved in Assassination Attempt Against Alpha Conde in July 2011? Steinmetz Says So. This, and Other Intriguing Stories . . .

As a point of information, there was an “attack” on Alpha Conde’s home in Conakry, July 18-19, 2011. Most Guineans believe that this was a “self-attack” and Conde’s intention was to blame it on his political enemies, primarily Peuls, and put them on trial for treason and other assorted charges. The political trial began a few months ago and the government’s case is slowly unraveling.

Article by David Gleason follows along with links to a few related articles.

STAY TUNED . . .

Soros at centre of coup bid claim

by David Gleason, 12 April 2013, 05:29

DID multibillionaire philanthropist George Soros really claim that Benny Steinmetz, chairman and principal shareholder in leading Israeli-based diamonds and minerals company Benny Steinmetz Group Resources (BSGR), organised an assassination attempt on Guinean President Alpha Condé? The attempt was alleged by Soros, according to a summons issued by Steinmetz in London on Thursday, to have taken place in July 2011.

The allegation, along with a litany of others, is contained in a 26-page particulars of claim served on Thursday on Lord Mark Malloch-Brown KCMG, Privy Councillor, and on FTI Consulting, an NYSE-listed advisory group, which he recently joined as chairman of Europe, the Middle East and Africa business. Malloch-Brown, a former UK government minister in one of the Blair administrations and a deputy United Nations secretary-general, was once reckoned to be among the 100 most influential people in the world.

Malloch-Brown is known to have been particularly close to Soros for many years, which the former minister has never denied.

Steinmetz, meanwhile, runs a diversified international mining company, employs 8,000 people and has been involved for the last 15 years in mining across Africa. His BSGR is the 49% stakeholder in an iron ore joint-venture known as Simandou and Zogota in Guinea in which its partner is Vale, the Brazilian mining house Anglo American once tried, and spectacularly failed, to buy. The joint venture is known as VBG.

Put bluntly and briefly, the BSGR hired FTI to respond to a series of allegations made against it over some years, most of which were alleged to have originated with Soros. When Malloch-Brown arrived to take up his position at FTI he told the team there that the relationship with BSGR “would end up being a conflict for us … at several levels”.

However, sadly for Malloch-Brown, not everything was, according to Thursday’s summons in London, going his way. It quotes one John Waples, senior MD and UK head of strategic communications at FTI, as having said that “Mr Soros had a personal obsession about BSGR and is determined to ensure that VBG’s mining licence is withdrawn/ cancelled by the GOG/Government of Guinea.” According to the summons, a senior Waples colleague, a Mr Brewerton, said FTI was “defending BSGR from a smearing campaign that is orchestrated by George Soros and NGOs associated with him”.

Later in the summons, Malloch-Brown is quoted in an e-mail addressed to various FTI executives, as saying “Mr Steinmetz’s and/or BSGR’s inside Africa transactions” are “corrupt”. And he allegedly added later that “the reputation of BS (Benny Steinmetz) among policy, MGO (sic) and media circles is so bad that that is condemnation for many in its own right”.

Around December 2010, the new Guinean government appointed a committee, according to the summons, funded by Soros who also funded the services of UK law firm DLA Piper, “which write the material, in the name of the committee, that formed the basis of the committee’s allegations against BSGR”. “The committee has also been supported by Tony Blair’s African Government Initiative.”

The upshot of all this is that FTI has fired the Steinmetz Group as its client, leaving it “up a creek without a paddle”, according to the summons. The VBG project is stalemated, with neither mining partner willing to do anything until the matter of the mining licence is resolved. The extent of Soros’s apparent deep dislike of Steinmetz and his involvement in African affairs may, if it exists, come out in the wash.

But it should not pass notice that Condé is deeply unpopular. He achieved the presidency in the most peculiar circumstances. Having won 18% in the first round of voting against the 47% of the man first past the post, Cellou Dalein Diallo, he then won the run-off with 53% a few months later, in 2011.

Related articles:

Israeli tycoon sues former UK minister

Labour peer accused of smearing mining magnate’s firm

Billionaire Steinmetz Accuses British Lord Over Soros Link

Alpha Conde: Stealing Elections and the Guinean People’s Money in a Jaw-Dropping 90-Page Investigative Report (EN-FR)

Further below are links to both English and French versions of a report from the website Guinee 58 which, in meticulous fashion, documents the broad conspiracy mounted by Alpha Conde and his international backers to steal the 2010 presidential election. In addition, he uses his presidency to steal amazing amounts of the people’s money to repay backers and to increase his own wealth enormously.

Most of his backers are from outside Guinea, but were it not for the backing of General Sekouba Konate, Conde would not have succeeded in his quest for the presidency. During the campaign and the election, Konate, served as Guinea’s transitional president, and was the only person capable of moving all the necessary levers to keep Conde’s opponent, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and his UFDG party, in check. For his efforts, Konate received several millions of dollars which Conde acquired from his backers. Konate is as complicit as Conde in stealing the people’s right to a free and fair election.

ENGLISH:

Mafia networks Alpha Conde exposed by a very rich report

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:53

How the President Conde took power in Guinea, bears the mark of a Machiavellian plan preconceived set execution once the presidential elections were in sight.

To win the presidential elections from a meager score of 18.3% of the overall vote in the first round, there was a need to: monitor the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) gain the support of outgoing President and the Chief state – Staff of the armed forces, and build an alliance with a foreign power in Africa that could support financially and technically to gauge the process.

This is exactly what Alpha Condé, with the help of his son Mohammed and his guard, Aboubacar Sampil made ​​before the 2010 presidential elections. In addition, Alpha Condé has created his regime with financial and technological support of politicians and intelligence people in South Africa, with the help of the interior of the Electoral Commission (CENI) and with the support of President outgoing transitional government, Sekouba Konate. Since he took the reins of government in December 2010, President Conde and his son Mohamed and several of their close associates have been involved in many political and economic scandals, some are related to the desire of the President to allow those who helped him get elected to take a turn and others are designed to feed his personal wealth.

We invite you to read the full report:

ENGLISH VERSION

FRENCH:

Les réseaux mafieux d’Alpha Condé mis à nu par un rapport très riche

Mercredi, 27 Mars 2013 09:53

La manière dont le président Condé a pris le pouvoir en Guinée, porte la marque d’un plan machiavélique préconçu mis en exécution une fois les élections présidentielles étaient en vue.

Pour gagner les élections présidentielles à partir d’un maigre score de 18,3% du vote général au premier tour, il y a eu nécessité de : contrôler la Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI); acquérir le soutien du président sortant et le chef d’état-major des forces armées, et de construire une alliance avec un gouvernement étranger puissant en Afrique qui pouvait le soutenir financièrement et techniquement afin de jauger le processus.

C’est exactement ce que Alpha Condé, avec l’aide de son fils Mohamed et de son protège, Aboubacar Sampil, ont fait, avant les élections présidentielles de 2010. En outre, Alpha Condé a créé son régime avec l’aide financière et technologique de politiciens et d’individus du renseignement en Afrique du Sud, avec l’aide de l’intérieur de la Commission Electorale (CENI) et avec le soutien du président sortant du gouvernement de transition, Sekouba Konate. Depuis qu’il a pris les rênes du gouvernement en Décembre 2010, Condé le président, et son fils Mohamed ainsi que plusieurs de leurs proches collaborateurs, ont été Impliques dans maints scandales politiques et économiques, certains sont lies au désir du président de permettre à ceux qui l’ont aidé à se faire élire d’en profiter a leur tour et d’autres visent à nourrir sa richesse personnelle.

Nous vous invitons à lire l’intégralité du rapport :

La version française

Mining and Agriculture: Guinea Plans to Launch Stock Exchange within Two Years

GUINMINING

Guinea plans to launch stock exchange within two years

By: Reuters

19th March 2013

Updated 20 minutes ago

ABIDJAN – Resource-rich Guinea plans to launch a stock exchange within the next two years to raise financing for its struggling mining sector, a senior central bank official said on Monday.

The West African nation is already the world’s leading exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite and is seeking to develop other mining potential including the Simandou mine, one of the world’s largest untapped iron ore deposits.

“Guinea is an important mining and agricultural country … There is a financing problem. Traditional financing through the banks is no longer effective,” said Mamady Fofana, director of lending for the central bank.

“So we must find other methods both to finance these companies and for the country’s growth,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.

Fofana said that Guinea’s government was in the process of creating a shortlist of companies to be traded on the new exchange. “We’ll start with a maximum of 10 companies, mainly from the mining sector as well as a few industrial firms and banks,” he said.

He declined to name any potential candidates.

Guinea has been plagued by political instability and corrupt leadership for much of its history since gaining independence from France in 1958. Despite its abundant mineral wealth, it remains one of the world’s poorest nations.

Economic growth has been held back by uncertainty surrounding the delay of parliamentary elections, the government said. Its economy grew by 3.9 percent last year, roughly one percentage point less than forecast.

Miners BHP Billiton, Vale and Russia’s RUSAL have begun backing away from planned investments, partly because of a government review of mining contracts.

Guinea’s government last week dismissed concerns raised over the future of Rio Tinto’s Simandou mine after the company’s CEO asked for confirmation of the state’s financial contribution to the project’s infrastructure.

Edited by: Reuters

David Gleason Article, “South Africans Litter the Pages of Guinea Report”

As set out previously in this column, there is a broad allegation that somehow a South African organisation called Waymark Infotech played a major role in the “theft” of the presidential election held in 2010.

The first round was convincingly won by Dalein Diallo, who collected 43.7% of the vote. His principal opponent, Alpha Condé, won 18.3%. The elections were being managed by a French company, Sagem, funded by the European Union, but in May 2010 the Guinean Central Election Committee appointed Waymark as the technical provider of the electoral registry.

Out went Sagem, and that meant a four-month delay between the first and second round. Condé won the latter with an astonishing 52.5% of the vote. Dalein Diallo won 47.5%. Condé was sworn in as president on December 21 2010.

South Africans litter the pages of Guinea report

by David Gleason, 14 March 2013, 05:37

FROM time to time over the last few months I’ve had cause to write about the goings-on in Guinea, an unhappy country sandwiched between other West African states, all of which have doubtful track records. The big difference is that Guinea is hugely mineral wealthy.

That wealth is the only possible reason for South Africa’s keen interest in it. As set out previously in this column, there is a broad allegation that somehow a South African organisation called Waymark Infotech played a major role in the “theft” of the presidential election held in 2010.

The first round was convincingly won by Dalein Diallo, who collected 43.7% of the vote. His principal opponent, Alpha Condé, won 18.3%. The elections were being managed by a French company, Sagem, funded by the European Union, but in May 2010 the Guinean Central Election Committee appointed Waymark as the technical provider of the electoral registry.

Out went Sagem, and that meant a four-month delay between the first and second round. Condé won the latter with an astonishing 52.5% of the vote. Dalein Diallo won 47.5%. Condé was sworn in as president on December 21 2010.

A wandering albatross has now deposited a monster report on my balcony, 86 pages of what it calls sensitive commercial information. South Africa and South Africans litter the pages: Tokyo Sexwale, Walter Hennig, Mark Willcox, two meetings in South Africa, one with President Jacob Zuma in April 2010, a Hein van Niekerk, said to be an intelligence officer, even old Pik Botha, and a plan to “pay back his (Condé’s) South African benefactors”. That’s when the Florus Bell/Palladino saga first hit the world headlines, a deal that needed to be hastily unscrambled when the details were unveiled.

The essence of the report is that the mining companies involved in Guinea are either going to be squeezed mercilessly or processes will be embarked upon which will see the ownership of mineral rights changing hands. It is certainly the case — so far, at least — that Rio Tinto was obliged to pay $700m to the Guinean government to ensure that its mineral rights would be left unchallenged.

Coincidentally, that $700m was about half the sum the Aluminium Corporation of China (Chinalco) paid to Rio for a stake in a portion of the fabulous Simandou high-grade iron-ore deposit.

I understand that the giant Russian aluminium producer Rusal, which operates the huge Dian Dian bauxite and alumina project, is under pressure to pay the Guinean government about $1bn, a sum calculated by Alex Stewart International as compensation for loss of earnings linked to the privatisation of the Friguia bauxite and alumina complex in 2006. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Guinea last month to resolve the impasse but came away, I am told, empty-handed.

Somewhere in the mix is Roger Agnelli, Brazilian mining house Vale’s former CEO. I gather he’s trying to winkle access to the remaining mineral rights over the Simandou deposit, although he has his former firm to contend with first — it holds a 60% interest.

Never far from any of this is Guinea’s neighbour, Mali. It is in the throes of putting down a revolt with strong religious ties and connections with some off-shoots of the al-Qaeda organisation. Guinea itself is reckoned to be 85% Muslim, so it must be assumed it will harbour some sympathy for Mali’s rebels.

It is a heady brew, destined for a showdown because a Guinean court has summoned opposition leaders to appear at a hearing today after nearly two weeks of protests in which eight people have died.

This comes just ahead of long-delayed elections for Guinea’s national assembly. The opposition has demanded that Waymark be replaced because some voter lists favour regions that support President Condé. Opposition leaders say they will be at court “accompanied by all our supporters”.

Who Owns Guinea’s Bauxite? Certainly Not Those to Whom It Belongs — The People

Having more bauxite than any other country on the planet, is it any wonder that mining companies from four continents breathlessly bang on Guinea’s door to get a piece of the action? If you add the sleight-of-hand management of the industry by Conde , his son, and assorted mining ministry schemers and top it off with “guidance” from flim-flam artist and Iraq war criminal, Tony Blair, how the hell could the people of Guinea receive any benefit?

The following article is from Deutsche Welle as well as the above video.

WHO OWNS GUINEA’S BAUXITE

November 22, 2012

Who owns Guinea’s bauxite?

No other country has as much bauxite as Guinea-Conakry. The government is planning a new law to secure 30 percent of shares in the mines, against the wishes of foreign investors.

With a proud smile on his face, supervisor James Camara points to one of his excavators with a rotating shovel that is digging deep into the earth. The machine does three jobs. It first takes the rock out of the ground, then crushes it and loads it on to a truck. Camara says up to 750 tons of rock per hour can be extracted. “That’s enough for seven truckloads.”

The trucks belong to the Moscow-based company Rusal which also owns the Balandou mine in Debele, a small town in the region of Kindia in the west of the country. Mangroves and mango trees grow around the open mine. The earth is red and smells burnt. Within it lies Guinea’s greatest treasure – the aluminum ore bauxite.

No processing industry in Guinea

The red earth contains Guinea’s greatest treasure

Trucks take the bauxite earth to the station where it is loaded on to freight trains which take it to the provincial capital Kindia. It will then leave the port of Conakry to travel by ship to Ukraine. There aluminum is produced from bauxite and exported all over the world. In Guinea itself, there is still no industry to transform the red treasure into the coveted metal, even after 53 years of independence.

With a new mining law, the government plans to increase the benefits from the mining business. In September 2011, the National Transitional Council approved the new law. The idea is for the state to get up to a 30 percent share of the mines which make large profits from the extraction of bauxite and iron.

Enforcing this law is not easy as most of the mining companies are owned by foreign companies. The Guinean government is currently negotiating with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund about now it can be implemented. They do not want to violate international law and scare off foreign investors, many of whom are already apprehensive.

Pavel Vassiliev, Africa representative of the Russian company Rusal, sees the mining companies adversely affected by the new law.

“Given the global crisis in the aluminum sector, a number of investors have already seen no alternative but to leave Guinea,” said Vassiliev.

A fraction of profits for the people

Neighboring countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia have already fought for greater shares in the extraction of their resources.

But so far Guineans have had little benefit from their country’s mineral wealth. About 200,000 people live in the provincial capital Kindia, less than an hour’s drive from the mines. Even from far away the green hills that frame the city can be seen.

At the provincial administrative office in Kindia the corridors are in total darkness because there is no electricity. The officials are all middle-aged. Thick layers of dust cover the files. An agreement between Guinea and the mine operators states that Rusal should give back 0.01 percent of the profits from its bauxite production – which is about one US dollar (77 euro cents) per ton. This money was supposed to go to the province, but for a long time now nothing has come in, says provincial administrator Dramane Conde. “This is not the fault of Rusal. The army came to power in 2008 and people did not want the money to go to unauthorized channels,” he said. The company had been waiting for democratic structures to become established before releasing the funds.

Struggle for lost wealth

Rusal is now investing and making a direct contribution to the region. In 2012 the company paid 350,000 euros to supply two villages with electricity. One of them is Mambia, a small community of mud houses which lies between the mines and the capital, Conakry. In addition to bauxite mining, the people here live mainly from agriculture. The green leaves of the cassava plant shine in the fields. “Rusal has built schools, a health center and has brought electricity to the village,” says community leader Kande Oumar Camara. “That has been a great help for people with small businesses.”

But for many politicians that is not enough. They want as much as possible of the bauxite profits to remain in the country. According to Ousmane Kaba, Minister for Strategic Issues, Rusal should dig deep into its pockets. “First of all, the mines belong to Guinea,” he says. Currently there are differences of opinion with Rusal. Preliminary studies had shown that Rusal should transfer almost a billion dollars to Guinea – for payments not made.

Bauxite for development?

The biggest problem for Conakry, however, is that the law can not be applied retroactively. That means that the major raw material deals of recent years, in which foreign companies have secured thick slices of the bauxite cake for themselves, are not affected.

But the bauxite, which will be extracted at the Balandou mine in Debele and elsewhere, could soon make a greater contribution to Guinea’s development. If the state would ensure that the mining revenue does not end up in dark channels but, for example, is used to build better roads, then the new mining law would benefit the Guinean people.