CONAKRY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The world’s biggest bauxite exporter, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), started loading ships at Guinea’s Kamsar port on Monday after martial law imposed to quell violent protests was lifted in the area.
A senior CBG official at Kamsar said train deliveries to the port were operating normally again after the government lifted a state of emergency in the area on Friday.
“The ships are being loaded and the security stocks are being built up again. The train shuttle (from the Sangaredi mine) is operating normally,” the official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
The CBG normally produces just over 14 million tonnes of wet bauxite a year and exports some 13 million tonnes of dried bauxite, making it the world’s top exporter.
Conte, a veteran general who seized power in a 1984 military coup, declared martial law a week ago to halt days of violent protests triggered by a nationwide stoppage whose leaders say the reclusive diabetic is no longer fit to rule.
The strike, the second this year, is now in its eighth day.
Martial law, still in place across the rest of the country, gave the military powers to detain anyone they suspected of threatening state security and imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew.
Deliveries from the alumina refinery at Fria -- operated by Russia’s privately owned RUSAL, the world’s third-largest aluminium producer behind Alcoa and Alcan -- were still halted, although more workers had started turning up at the factory.
The plant has an annual production of around 700,000 tonnes of alumina, which can then be smelted to produce aluminium and which are transported 160 km (100 miles) by train to Guinea’s port capital, Conakry, from where they are directly exported.
“We are in the middle of negotiations to get the alumina trains going again ... but there are more workers at the refinery than there have been since the start of the strike,” said one RUSAL employee in Fria, who asked not to be named.
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