French Billionaire Xavier Niel Invests in Guinean Bauxite Mine

  • Niel acquires minority stake in Alliance Miniere Responsable
  • Guinea's government was `instrumental' in Niel's decision

French telecommunications billionaire Xavier Niel acquired a minority stake in Alliance Miniere Responsable, which is exploring for bauxite in Guinea, the company said.

Niel, the founder of Iliad SA, used his private investment vehicle NJJ Capital SAS for the purchase, Alliance Miniere said in an e-mailed statement. He becomes the latest shareholder in AMR, joining former Areva SA Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon and Edouard Louis-Dreyfus, president of the shipping company that bears his name, according to the statement.

Xavier Niel

Photographer: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg

Investment in Guinea’s bauxite mines is key to unlocking faster economic growth in the West African country, which holds more than a quarter of the known reserves of the ore that gets processed into aluminum. AMR plans to apply for a production license this year.

The election victory of Guinean President Alpha Conde for a second term last year, the “ambition” of new Minister of Mines and Geology Abdoulaye Magassouba and the appointment of Prime Minister Mamady Youla, a former executive at a bauxite mining company, were “instrumental” factors that convinced Niel to invest, Alliance Miniere said in the statement.