Guinea’s Mines Minister Says License Reviews Deterring Investors

A review of mining licenses in Guinea, the world’s biggest bauxite exporter and home to the largest untapped iron ore deposit, is deterring investors in the West African country, according to its Mines Minister.

“We are really eager to see this process completed very soon, because as long as it is under way it will be difficult for us to attract new investors,” Kerfalla Yansane said in an interview yesterday while attending the World Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja.

Guinea’s mineral riches have attracted the world’s biggest mining companies in BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and Vale SA. The government last month revoked two licenses held in a venture of Brazil’s Vale and BSG Resources Ltd. covering the Simandou project, the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore resource. BSGR has rejected the government’s findings and claims it has been unfairly targeted.

“It’s not about harassing anyone, it’s just to have a fair deal to put in place a good level playing field for all investors,” Yansane said. “This is important for the government but also for all investors.”

Vale and BSGR had planned a $10 billion mine, port and rail project at Simandou.

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