October 2, 2023

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Guinea coup rattles iron ore and bauxite markets, stokes economic uncertainty

4 min read

CONAKRY, Guinea – Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, head of the army’s unique forces and coup leader, waves to the group as he comes at the Palace of the People today in Conakry on September 6, 2021, ahead of a meeting with the Ministers of the Ex-President of Guinea, Alpha Conde.

CELLOU BINANI/AFP by using Getty Photos

A armed forces junta on Sunday claimed to have seized command in the West African country of Guinea and detained President Alpha Condé, casting uncertainty about key bauxite and iron ore provides.

The coup, carried out by an elite exclusive forces device led by 41-yr-aged Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, is the latest in a series of ability grabs in the region over the earlier year, together with in nearby Mali and Chad.

Doumbouya has claimed the army was forced into motion amid rampant corruption, human legal rights abuses and economic mismanagement less than Condé, but the transfer has been condemned by the UN, the African Union and regional body ECOWAS.

The elite device on Monday permitted travel to resume by checkpoints in the cash of Conakry on Monday, barred authorities officials from international travel and lifted a curfew in mining regions

What is actually much more, it has imperiled minerals and mining endeavors which are vital to the country’s economic climate and world supply chains, according to industry experts.

Iron ore

Guinea’s 110-kilometer Simandou assortment hosts a single of the premier untapped iron ore deposits in the earth, made up of far more than 8.6 billion tons of ore with an typical 65% iron articles, in accordance to Guinea’s National Institute of Figures.

Simandou is located in the remote southeastern interior of the nation, a extensive distance from the capital of Conakry and the western coastline that must be attained to accessibility the worldwide seaborne current market for iron ore.

“The infrastructure demands of the project are consequently substantial in scale, complexity and price, greater on all steps than the bauxite export field that has been proven in the nation in new several years,” said Andrew Gadd, senior metal analyst at CRU Team.

“Geopolitical chance has been one of quite a few hurdles hindering development of Simandou up right up until now and the army coup that is now unfolding in the nation marks a substantial deterioration in the potential customers for prosperous development of the deposit.”

The Simandou job has been relatively stagnant because its discovery in the 1990s as a final result of political uncertainty, disputes above mining rights and expense concerns.

The project would involve significant railway and port infrastructure in a state which ranks 160th out of 186 international locations in per capita GDP, in accordance to the IMF. Investors have been reticent about having a leap of religion amid the ongoing danger that substance rates could nosedive.

Irrespective of latest development on preparatory work, the challenge has nonetheless to undertake a feasibility analyze.

“Sourcing the finances for Simandou has proved extremely complicated and the uncertainty created by the present developments will obstacle the dedication of intrigued events,” Gadd said.


Guinea has the world’s premier reserves of bauxite, the world’s major resource of aluminum. Aluminum rates spiked to a 10-year significant on the London Metals Exchange on Monday amid fears of global supply disruption.

“For the country’s booming mining sector, the circumstance could not appear at a even worse time. Miners now have minimal other choice than to sit restricted and await even more clarity from the transitional authorities, but contract renegotiation or even expropriation can not be discounted,” claimed Eric Humphery-Smith, Africa analyst at chance intelligence business Verisk Maplecroft.

KAMSAR, Guinea – Watch of the bauxite factory of Guinea’s largest mining firm, Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), at Kamsar, a city north of the money Conakry, taken on October 23, 2008. Guinea is the world’s main exporter of bauxite, an ore from which aluminium is produced.

GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Illustrations or photos

“The upshot will be main supply disruption for the international bauxite current market, as operations will most likely keep on being shuttered for the coming times and perhaps months.”

The Kremlin on Tuesday reported it hoped the coup would not damage Russian company interests in Guinea, in accordance to Reuters.

Russian aluminum big Rusal has vowed to manage its 3 bauxite mines and a person alumina refinery in the state irrespective of the political upheaval.

‘Two methods backwards’

The coup has introduced down the curtain on virtually a 10 years of political security in Guinea. Humphery-Smith explained it will probably embolden officer corps all through the area, indicating that “neither democrats nor autocrats will slumber effortless.”

President Condé was accused in late 2020 of pushing as a result of a constitutional amendment to safe a third expression, a go that led to violent protests throughout the country.

Cellou Dalein Diallo, leader of the primary opposition FNDC movement in the beginning launched to oppose Condé working for a third time period, supported the coup in a assertion Monday, saying the takeover “completes” the do the job of professional-democracy groups opposed to Condé’s retention of ability.

CONAKRY, Guinea – A government official escorted by members of Guinea’s special forces walks into the Palace of the People in Conakry, Guinea, Sept. 6, 2021.

Xinhua by means of Getty Visuals

“Although the emotion among the lots of Guineans is jubilation, make no miscalculation that this is two actions backwards for both of those the country’s democracy and financial state. Recovering what till now was a stable and predictable working surroundings is anything but a provided,” Humphery-Smith explained.

The centralized transitional authority will be sick-equipped to reply to localized grievances, he advised, most likely escalating political and social unrest when elections are finally scheduled.

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