CONAKRY, (Reuters) – Guinea will launch a nationwide review of mining contracts to root out “unconscionable provisions” granted by previous rulers, and has toned down Chinese involvement in the resource sector, Mines Minister Mohamed Lamine Fofana told Reuters.
The move comes after the West African state, the world’s top supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite and whose iron ore reserves have drawn billions of dollars in investments, passed a new mining code that more than doubles the state share in projects.
“If by defending the interests of the country people think we are being protectionist, well then I agree,” Fofana told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.
“Now I plan to clean up the mining sector and will conduct a review to remove unconscionable provisions in certain contracts and ensure we have balance and fairness,” he said. Guinea held its first free elections late last year bringing President Alpha Conde to power and ending nearly two years of military rule during which authorities signed several high-profile mining accords.
Fofana said that the government had overturned an agreement by the military government to give secretive investment group China International Fund the rights to all of Guinea’s unexploited resources — a deal reportedly worth $7 billion.