Natural resources and energy
The mining industry is in its infancy, but far-reaching plans are in place to break bauxite (which is a raw material for aluminum), phosphate and gold. Foreign companies also search for oil, ilmenite and gemstones such as zircon. For its electricity supply, the country is almost entirely dependent on imported oil. However, few households have access to electricity.
Mining of phosphate near Farim was scheduled to begin in 2014, but a dispute between the government and the international consortium that would exploit the deposits led to the project being shrunk. A Canadian company, GB Minerals, has taken over, and production is expected to start in 2017.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Guinea-Bissau with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
In 2007, Guinea-Bissau signed an agreement with Angola to jointly exploit the bauxite deposits around Boé in the southeast. The project is a collaboration with the Angolan company Bauxite Angola and the Angolan and Guinean governments. Bauxite Angola has also promised to build a deep-sea port in Buba and a railway line between Boé and Buba (and possibly an aluminum smelter and hydroelectric power plant in the Geba River). The project was estimated to cost $ 300 million, which would thus be the largest investment made in Guinea-Bissau. After the 2012 coup, Angola froze all investments in Guinea-Bissau. In 2014, work resumed after the country received a democratically elected government.
A Swiss company West Africa Mining AG is looking for gold in 46 areas in the country. And Russian and Chinese companies are investigating ilmenite and zirconium.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, PU stands for Guinea-Bissau. Visit itypeusa for more information about Guinea-Bissau.
According to a 2006 study, there were oil resources outside the Bijagosaripelagen that would produce 120,000 barrels of oil a year. However, there is a concern about the consequences of any oil recovery for the sensitive environment. Several foreign companies, including Svenska Petroleum, have been granted licenses to search for oil deposits at sea.
Guinea-Bissau has signed an agreement with Senegal and Guinea on how to distribute any profits from oil recovery (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
For most Guineans, charcoal and firewood are the most important sources of energy. The many rivers give Guinea-Bissau fairly good opportunities to develop hydropower. Despite extensive assistance to the energy sector, the country is one of the African countries where electricity is the worst developed. Not every tenth household has access to electricity. Bissau is regularly hit by electricity outages. In 2008, energy consumption in the country was estimated to be 50 times lower than the average for Africa. Plans to privatize the state electricity company, EAGB, have not been realized due to lack of interest. In 2013, EAGB was basically bankrupt.
The country is completely dependent on oil imports. From the end of the 1999, the country has had major problems with the electricity supply in the capital, with many electricity cuts. Those who can afford it have bought their own diesel generators to gain access to electricity. A new hydroelectric plant would be built, with Chinese support, at Saltinhoto southeast of the capital, but has not been removed.
In the long term, it is also hoped to buy electricity from neighboring countries. Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Guinea and Senegal plan to use hydropower in the Gambia and Konkoure rivers. In the long term, it will provide Guinea-Bissau with about 42 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
62 kilos of oil equivalent (2007)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
271,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.2 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
86.9 percent (2015)
Former army chief’s friend is identified as the leader in the coup attempt
According to media reports, Bubo Na Tchuto is identified as the brain behind the coup attempt. He has previously been close to Army Chief Indjai. Among those arrested are several PAIGC politicians in opposition to the Prime Minister.
New coup attempt
On December 27 there will be reports of an alleged coup attempt. Thirty people are arrested, among them Naval Chief José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto and fighting breaks out in Bissau. Rumors are circulating that the unrest has begun since soldiers attacked the Army headquarters to demand higher wages (an extra payday before Christmas has only gone to a smaller group). Others claim that it is about two army factions fighting for control of drug trafficking.
Help with guarding of coasts
In September, the Prime Minister appealed in a speech at the UN General Assembly to the UN and EU to help guard the country’s coasts to prevent drug smuggling via Guinea-Bissau.
Ministers are dismissed
At the end of the month, nine government ministers are sacked by a decree from the president, but Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior is allowed to remain despite several opposition parties pressing for him to leave.
Political crisis persists
The political crisis does not disappoint. In July, large demonstrations are held against Prime Minister Gomes for the government’s inability to investigate the murders of Vieira, Batista Tagme Na Waie and two other high-ranking politicians Baciro Dabó and Hélder Proença . On August 3, President Sanha dismisses Justice Minister Amine Michel Saad, who is interpreted as part of the power struggle following the political murders.