Guinea’s bauxite boom is helping China but failing locals

IN THE SMALL village of Lasanayah, Mamadou Kalissa looks out over his ancestral home. Last year it was farmland but now bauxite mining has turned it into a Martian landscape that extends as far as the eye can see. Guinea’s red gold is the main ore used to make aluminium. The Boké region in western Guinea has some of the world’s richest reserves. A mining lorry rolls past, kicking up dust and causing Mr Kalissa to cough and spit saliva with a reddish tinge.

Every day hundreds of these lorries tear past the surrounding villages, bearing loads destined for China. There is nothing new about China’s interest in African raw materials. Both Chinese and Western commodities companies have long looked to the continent’s mineral wealth as a way to meet surging demand from China.

But difficulties building infrastructure and negotiating mineral rights have stymied many projects. As a result of years of squabbling over mining rights, for example, not one tonne of ore has been extracted from Simandou, a vast iron-ore deposit in south-east Guinea. Extracting Boké’s bauxite has met with less resistance.

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via Business Feeds

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