Last Updated : GMT 02:17:50
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Guinea president defends clampdown on mining rights

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Guinea president defends clampdown on mining rights

Geneva - AFP

Guinean President Alpha Conde has defended a decision to void hundreds of mining permits, including to the world's biggest untapped iron-ore deposit, which was nixed after a corruption probe of an Israeli magnate's firm. "We decided to review all permits. We maintain those which are regular. Those which don't meet requirements get a deadline to fall into line and those which are way off get withdrawn," Conde said this week in Geneva, a global commodities trading hub. Iron ore is the raw material of a global steel industry driven by booming demand from emerging powers such as China, so mining rights are hot property on international markets. After his election in 2010, following years as an opposition leader, prisoner and exile, Conde launched a radical review of permits alloted under military dictator Lansana Conte. The west African nation -- already the world's largest producer of bauxite, used to make aluminium -- also has huge untapped deposits of diamonds, gold and uranium. The highest-profile victim of a permit withdrawal is the VBG consortium formed in 2010 by Brazilian mining giant Vale and BSG Resources (BSGR), the mining arm of Israeli diamond king Beny Steinmetz. This April, VBG was stripped of its concession in Guinea's Simandou mountains, a southeastern region estimated to contain high-grade iron ore deposits of 2.25 billion tonnes. While the root of that decision was corruption claims against BSGR -- which the group denies vociferously and which Guinea underlines did not involve Vale -- Conde stressed it was part of a wider clampdown. "We've already taken back 800 permits, so this isn't case-specific," he told a small group of Swiss and international reporters. "We've withdrawn permits in the sectors of iron, bauxite, gold and diamonds," he added. - Deathbed deal - Guinea is still struggling to deal with the after-effects of decades of military dictatorships and misrule after its first democratic elections in 2010. Conde said the goal was to better harness the resources of his poor west African nation of 10 million people. "Our mineral wealth hasn't benefitted us at all, it's been more of a curse. Now we need our wealth to become a blessing. That means we need win-win cooperation with mining groups," he said. "The big scandal for Guinea is people who take permits and make money on the markets thanks to those permits," he said. British-Australian giant Rio Tinto originally held all four Simandou concessions, but in 2008 was ordered by the Conte regime to relinquish two, which were then awarded to BSGR. BSGR argued that Conte acted because Rio Tinto, which was in the middle of a global shake-up, had been sluggish in developing Simandou. But the deal -- signed on the deathbed of the strongman, who had led Guinea for 24 years -- raised eyebrows worldwide. Critics said the sale vastly undervalued the deposit, given that BSGR invested $170 million but sold half its rights to Vale for 14 times more just two years later. That, and corruption allegations, spurred Conde's decision to launch his mining permit review two years ago. In April his government probe committee, using evidence from the US's FBI, ruled that BSGR used intermediaries to pay bribes of at least $3 million to Conte's wife Mamadie Toure. BSGR has vigorously rejected claims of wrongdoing, saying the allegations rely on "fabricated claims, compromised witnesses and illegitimate processes" and accusing Conde of a "carefully orchestrated plan" to reward political allies with mining favours. - Vale welcome to bid - Conde brushed off those allegations. "After a long investigation in the US, Switzerland and so on, the committee proposed to withdraw the permits and that's what we've done," he said. "We've always said that all the investigations showed that Vale was not only not involved in corruption, but also was unaware of how the rights were obtained (by BSGR)," he noted. "We're going to launch a transparent, open bidding process for anyone who wants to take part. We hope strongly that Vale will take part. We don't have any preferences, but nor are we against anyone," he insisted. Vale, which says it formed VGB on the basis that the permits were obtained "lawfully and without any improper promises or payments", is understood to have paid $500 million up front as part of its $2.5 billion deal with BSGR. Vale has launched a $1.1-billion arbitration suit against Guernsey-registered BSGR in London, the Swiss daily Le Temps reported on Wednesday. Conde underlined that the saga had not affected moves to tap Rio Tinto's concessions. In 2010, Rio Tinto formed a consortium with Chinese state-run aluminium group Chalco, one of its major shareholders, to work on its remaining concessions. Rio Tinto is involved in plans to build a 650-kilometre (400-mile) railway as well as a deep-water port to export the ore, maily to China's steel industry. "With Rio Tinto, we're in the process of finalising the investment framework and we've agreed that mining should begin by 2018," said Conde, adding that the railway is expected to spur broader economic development

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today guinea president defends clampdown on mining rights Arab Today, arab today guinea president defends clampdown on mining rights


Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Adidas Originals ‘reinterpreted’

GMT 14:52 2016 Thursday ,01 December

Adidas Originals ‘reinterpreted’
Arab Today, arab today At Milaidhoo Island, Maldives

GMT 08:42 2016 Wednesday ,07 December

At Milaidhoo Island, Maldives
Arab Today, arab today Paris's matchbox apartments

GMT 10:37 2016 Saturday ,24 September

Paris's matchbox apartments
Arab Today, arab today As West watches Aleppo slip away

GMT 08:15 2016 Saturday ,10 December

As West watches Aleppo slip away
Arab Today, arab today 'Rookie' Trump must fall into line

GMT 08:02 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

'Rookie' Trump must fall into line

GMT 05:12 2016 Saturday ,10 December

OPEC to push for non-member oil cuts

GMT 05:05 2016 Saturday ,10 December

Private sector investments in KSA to gather pace in 2017

GMT 14:13 2016 Thursday ,08 December

British PM seeks to boost Gulf economic ties

GMT 15:45 2016 Wednesday ,07 December

Britain clamps down on spread betting industry

GMT 15:29 2016 Wednesday ,07 December

Oil firms and carmakers diverge in costly debate

GMT 09:41 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

Japan moves closer to legalising casinos in Tokyo
View News in Arabic - Business: نفط وبتروكيماويات
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today The summer school raising aspirations

GMT 12:49 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

The summer school raising aspirations
Arab Today, arab today Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone immortalized

GMT 12:31 2016 Thursday ,08 December

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone immortalized
Arab Today, arab today Australia's Rinehart, China group

GMT 10:02 2016 Friday ,09 December

Australia's Rinehart, China group
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Hyundai allows Saudi journalists

GMT 15:14 2016 Thursday ,01 December

Hyundai allows Saudi journalists
Arab Today, arab today Latest Infiniti QX to compete

GMT 13:16 2016 Saturday ,26 November

Latest Infiniti QX to compete
Arab Today, arab today Kirk Douglas at 100, still in love

GMT 12:19 2016 Thursday ,08 December

Kirk Douglas at 100, still in love
Arab Today, arab today Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

GMT 13:47 2016 Thursday ,08 December

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

GMT 10:48 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

France bets on Bollywood

GMT 10:52 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

Vanessa Redgrave makes directing

GMT 04:15 2016 Thursday ,30 June

World's largest uncut diamond fails

GMT 11:39 2016 Tuesday ,06 December

Indonesia expands protection

GMT 15:59 2015 Wednesday ,27 May

Seoul elevates gardening to high art

GMT 12:39 2016 Saturday ,26 November

Skin patch could help kids

GMT 13:17 2016 Friday ,25 November

Ajman Tourism launches time capsule

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 14:08 2016 Saturday ,10 December

Samsung Galaxy A8 arrives in Saudi market

GMT 09:53 2016 Sunday ,15 May

OMEGA official timekeepers
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube

Powered and Developed by FilmMatters

Copyright © 2016 Arabtoday

Developed by FilmMatters

© 2016 Arabtoday

arabtoday arabtoday arabtoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabtoday, Arabtoday, Arabtoday