- Title: GUINEA: Tighter mining regulations expected in Guinea
- Date: 18th May 2011
- Summary: PIE CHART SHOWN DURING TALK ON STAGE
- Embargoed: 2nd June 2011 01:46
- Location: Guinea, Guinea
- Country: Guinea
- Topics: Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA47LI1HKOPZTVW6VZ4GS98TCK0
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Industry players from the across the mining sector met in Conakry earlier this month for the 2011 mining symposium.
The biannual conference is the biggest of its kind in West Africa and every year attracts hundreds of buyers, producers and investors from all over the world.
This time it took place against the backdrop of the country's first truly democratic elections in November last year. After a long period of political instability Guinea is entering a new period of civilian rule that has brought with it hope of bright prospects for the country's economic future.
High on the agenda at the conference was the announcement that the recently elected government is revising the nation's mining code for the first time in 16 years.
Addressing delegates at the conference, Guinea's Prime Minister said the new regulations were designed to make the country's mining sector more productive and attract investment.
"This reform aims to create, firstly, the preparation and the adoption of a new mining code, secondly, the creation by states of organisations to oversee the mining and oil sectors and thirdly, a legal audit of the methods and finances of mining companies and their operation and development," he said.
As well as tightening regulations and licensing, the government is expected to increase their share in profits from mining assets by as much as 33 percent.
Under current law, Guinea's government gets 15 percent of all gold and diamond assets but for other deposits including bauxite and iron ore it can be excluded from profits. In some cases the government has had to pay companies that mine its resources.
While the details of the law are still under negotiation, companies were quick to respond to the government's announcement.
"We're going to participate. We are going to put forward our ideas. I think its quite normal to revise the mining code, it's something that happens all the time in the countries where we operate," said Ricardo Saad, director of operations, Vale mining company.
Others said they would continue operating as normal until the law and new regulations are passed.
The government has said all mining projects both current and future operations will have to comply with the new regulations.
But despite the focus on government profits by mining exexutives, Mamoudou Diallo, president, Guinea's Chamber of Mines said the regulations are as much about attracting investment.
"Its up to each state to define the regulations of the day. So all that we can demand in the mining sector is that the regulations are well known and transparent from the start. Because as I said in my presentation, investment in the mining sector demands a certain visibility. Its important for people to be able to see into the long term, that the conditions are going to stay the same so they can invest. Because we're talking about an investment of several million," he said.
Guinea is the world's largest supplier of bauxite, the raw material refined into alumina that is then smelted into aluminum metal.
Rough estimates put Guinea's vast bauxite ore body between 25 and 40 billion tonnes, spread across much of the country.
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