June 27, 2018 / 8:33 PM / 23 days ago

AngloGold Ashanti's Guinea mine hit by violent power cuts protests

PARIS, June 27 (Reuters) - AngloGold Ashanti’s gold mining operations in Guinea have been hit by two days of violent protests over power cuts in the northeastern mining town of Siguiri, a resident and an official said on Wednesday.

Over a thousand protesters were surrounding the mine late on Wednesday. “We are negotiating with them to calm the situation,” Siguiri government administrator Ibrahima Kalil Keita told Reuters by phone.

AngloGold Ashanti could be reached for comment.

Minerals-rich Guinea suffers from chronic power shortages and citizens take to the streets from time to time to protest against prolonged outages.

The demonstration in Siguiri, which began on Sunday, turned violent after residents said they had gone for over a month without electricity, with soccer fans in the region missing soccer World Cup games.

“Some young people barricaded the road between Bouré and Siguiri demanding electricity. They clashed with the police...,” resident Moussa Conde told Reuters by phone.

“The police opened fire after some protesters tried to break the gates of the (AngloGold’s) mine and attack the facilities. I saw at least 10 people who were wounded by gunshot at the Siguiri hospital,” Conde said.

A gendarme source in Siguiri confirmed that security forces have clashed with residents over the past two days but gave no further details.

The Siguiri mine produced 324,000 ounces of gold in 2017, a 25 percent rise compared with the previous year thanks to improved productivity and access to higher grade, according to the company. (Reporting by Saliou Samb Writing by Bate Felix Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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