Oct 6 (Reuters) - Guinea's military leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, is facing increasing international criticism after a crackdown on protesters on Sept. 28. [ID:nL6471551]
Guinea's vast mineral resources have attracted major international mining firms and the West African country is the world's No. 1 supplier of aluminum ore bauxite.
Here are details of some of the country's major mining operations and planned developments.
-- Guinea boasts around a third of all known reserves of bauxite, the ore used to make aluminium. CBG (Alcoa (AA.N) and Rio Tinto's (RIO.L)(RIO.AX) Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, the world's biggest bauxite exporter, shipped a record 13.7 million tonnes in 241 shiploads during 2008.
The company accounts for some 80 percent of Guinea's mining income, which was worth $149 million in 2007.
Bauxite production is as follows (capacity in brackets): - Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee/Boke Mine 13.18 mln (15 mln) - Alumina Company of Guinea/Fria-Kimbo Mine 2.8 mln (2.8 mln)
(Russia's RUSAL took over management in 2002 for 22-year term) - Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia 3.8 mln (3.8 mln)
(RUSAL took over management in 2001 for 25-year term) - TOTAL: Bauxite capacity 2008 21.6 mln
Bauxite production 2008 19.78 mln * RUSAL's Friguia plant refines bauxite to alumina, with a total projected 2008 production of 527,000 tonnes of alumina. * Alcoa and Rio Tinto are considering adding an alumina refinery to their Guinea bauxite joint venture. * Toronto-listed Global Alumina GLAu.TO is building a new 3.3 million T/yr alumina refinery, but has delayed start-up by two years to 2011 and raised its cost forecast 35 percent to $4.3 billion.
-- Last December, Rio Tinto postponed development of the Simandou concession, which it says is the world's biggest undeveloped iron ore deposit, with an estimated 2.25 billion tonnes of ore. The project, forecast to cost $6 billion, was scheduled to produce 70 million tonnes of ore in its first year, with the capacity to increase production later.
-- After the announcement, Rio said Guinea planned to take away its rights to the northern portion of the project, and days later BSG Resources, a company belonging to Israeli diamond trader Beny Steinmetz, said it had obtained those rights. Camara's administration has upheld the handing of the portion of Simandou to BSG Resources, a decision Rio challenges.
-- Anglogold Ashanti (ANGJ.J) operates Guinea's biggest gold mine at Siguiri in the northeast, where it produced 332,000 ounces of gold in 2008. The Guinean state holds a 15 percent stake.
-- Anglogold was one the three firms the government said in September would be audited.
-- Crew Gold CRU.TO operates the LEFA Corridor Gold Project, which produced 189,520 ounces in 2008.
-- West Africa-focused gold miner Semafo, which is listed in Toronto, operates the Kiniero mine in eastern Guinea. It produced 51,700 ounces in 2008.
-- Artisanal gold mining is also common in Guinea.
-- Guinea's diamond reserves are estimated at over 25 million carats, not including as yet unmapped kimberlite fields.
-- Guinea's mines minister recommended in July 2008 that the government cancel the diamond mining licence of the biggest diamond operator in the country, Ardor, due to lack of activity.
-- Ardor, 85 percent owned by Toronto-listed Azure Resources Corp and 15 percent by Guinea's government, previously produced between 12,000 and 38,000 carats a year, mines ministry officials said.
Sources: Reuters news, company websites & Reuters Metal Production Database, available to 3000Xtra users here ((For main story click [ID:LF463812]))
(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/) (Reporting by Daniel Magnowski and David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit, editing by Anthony Barker)