Guinea

Work, Justice, Solidarity

Minerals: Bauxite, iron ore, uranium, diamonds and gold

Independence: 2 October 1958

Area: 245,836 km2

Mining fact: Guinea has at least 25% of the world’s known bauxite reserves

Guinea is a country on the West Coast of Africa with a population of around 10.5 million people. The name of the country is derived from the Portuguese word Guinè which is a generic term for black people who live below the Senegal River. French is the official language of Guinea and is spoken in the government, schools and in the media. There are over 24 other languages also spoken by various ethnic groups in Guinea..

History of Guinea

Before the French colonised Guinea in the 1890s the land belonged to various African empires. After Guinea declared its independence in 1958 it was ruled by a series of despotic rulers until a president was elected in 2010. The economy of Guinea is entirely dependent on agriculture, and mineral production and export.

Alumina and mining operations in Guinea are responsible for approximately 80% of Guinea’s foreign exchange. Bauxite is mined, and then processed into alumina – which is what is smelted to produce aluminium. Compagnie de Bauxites de Guinea is the main company in Guinea bauxite industry and exports around 14 million tonnes of high-grade bauxite every year. Although the country has vast mineral wealth and mining potential, the only major exports currently are bauxite and alumina. Guinea also has over 4 billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore and as yet indeterminate masses of uranium.

Diamond and Gold Mining in Guinea

Guinea has substantial deposits of gold and diamonds and both are mined and to some extent exported. Most of the diamond mining is done artisinally.

Agriculture and other Industries in Guinea

The soil, weather and abundant water in Guinea provide an ideal environment for large-scale agricultural farming. While France ruled Guinea and shortly after the country gained independence, Guinea was a major exporter of coffee, palm oil, bananas, pineapples and peanuts. This potential continues to be explored to some degree and the agricultural sector provides employment to 80% of the country’s labour force. Other industries include processing plants that make juices, soft drinks, tobacco and beer.

Hampering Progress

Besides the abundant mineral, agricultural and natural resources in Guinea there is also massive potential for hydroelectric power production in the country, and other large scale commercial and investment possibilities. But most of it is as yet unexplored. Despite the tremendous potential in transforming the natural and mineral resources of Guinea, the country has a poorly developed infrastructure, is rife with corruption, has issues with healthcare, and has a bad reputation when it comes to human rights.

Mining Companies in Guinea

 Alumina Company of Guinea, Halco Mining, Rio Tinto Aluminium, Semafo, Société Minière de Dinguiraye, Ashanti Goldfields, AREDOR, BSGR