Guinea asks bauxite miners to confirm in-country processing plans by May

The interim government of Guinea has asked international mining companies to present plans to refine their bauxite production into alumina within the country by May 2022.

Guinea, the world’s second largest bauxite producer and Africa’s biggest producer of the aluminium ore, has been looking to increase local beneficiation to its mineral wealth for some time.

In recent years, the West African country has pressured miners to commit to building local facilities that will refine bauxite into higher value alumina. The military junta that seized power in September has further toughened this stance, ordering the suspension of all activities at a massive iron ore deposit last month.

Guinea’s two largest bauxite producers – Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) and Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinee (CBG) – had both previously committed to developing local refineries, the interim government said.

“The respect of basic agreements remains a non-negotiable for us,” junta leader Mamady Doumbouya said during a hearing with company representatives broadcast on state television late on Friday.

“You and I can no longer continue this fool’s game that perpetuates great inequality in our relations,” he added.

The companies were asked to submit project proposals and a ‘precise timetable’ for the construction of alumina refineries to the mines ministry by the end of May. Penalties would be issued if the deadline is missed, Doumbouya said.