Guinea Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Guinea is the world’s second largest bauxite producer and is estimated to have the world’s largest reserves, about two-thirds, of the world’s bauxite assets. The country also has good assets of a number of other minerals such as iron, gold, diamonds, nickel and titanium. However, the political unrest 2006-2010 created some problems for the mining industry, but foreign investment has nevertheless increased.

However, the political unrest 2006-2010 created some problems for the mining industry, but foreign investment has nevertheless increased (see Economy). Disputes between the government and foreign mining companies about extraction rights have delayed large projects. The mining industry has been shaken by several corruption scandals, the most recent spring 2016 (see below and Calendar).

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Guinea 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.

A new mining law, which would give the state greater tax revenue and rojalities, was adopted in 2011, but was already withdrawn after two weeks following negative reactions from the mining companies. The new law that was adopted the following year was more favorable to foreign investors. In both cases, the new laws aimed to create greater transparency in the process.

The mining of bauxite, which is a raw material for aluminum, started already in the 1930s. The country’s largest bauxite deposits are in the vicinity of Boké in the northwest. Several foreign companies are extracting the bauxite. A small part of the bauxite is refined to aluminum before being exported, but the proportion has increased later.

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There are plans to start several new aluminum smelters in the country (see Industry). The only thing in the country today is in Kindia, with the Russian company Rusal as the majority owner. Rusal bought most of the smelter in 2002. In 2008, the then junta tried to tear up the purchase agreement with Rusal, which was said to have bought the factory for a tenth of its market value. The dispute was only resolved in 2014, when an international arbitration court decided the matter in favor of Rusal. In 2014, Global Aluminia from the United Arab Emirates got the right to break bauxite in the Boké area. The company has also promised to build a smelting plant for 2018 and develop the port of Kamsar. The Chinese company CPI, and Alufer Mining, based in Guernsey, would also make major investments in the bauxite/aluminum sector.

At the Nimba Mountain in the south-east there are large deposits of unusually rich iron ore (the largest known deposits not yet exploited). There are plans to extract the ore, but they have not yet been put into operation. In the spring of 2010, the multinational Rio Tinto signed an agreement with the Chinese company Chinalco to exploit extensive iron deposits in the Simandou area, near the border with Liberia (see also Finance). Other foreign companies, including Brazilian Vale, would start breaking iron in the same area. However, large investments in infrastructure are required for projects to get started. An Australian company also plans to start mining uranium in Firava in the southeast.

Diamonds and gold are mined by both international companies and private individuals. A large part of the diamonds and gold that individuals dig up are smuggled out of the country, but industrial production is of growing importance to the economy.

Guinea has a number of other mineral resources that have not yet been exploited industrially, including chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel and platinum.

Offshore, various foreign companies are searching for oil and the test drilling that has been done indicates that there are oil deposits there. Among the major players are Sino-Angolan China Sonangol and American Hyperdynamics. However, the latter of the companies risk losing their rights due to a dispute with, among others, the British-based Tullow Oil based in the UK. In the area closest to Guinea-Bissau, Simba Energy, headquartered in Canada, was expected to start oil exploration.

Less than a fifth of the population has access to electricity. The expansion of the electricity grid and other infrastructure has been mainly driven by the needs of the bauxite and aluminum industries. The state grid is concentrated around the capital and Kindia. Long-term power outages are common and since 2005 they have also affected parts of Conakry. Almost all electricity comes from hydropower. There is considered great potential to build more hydropower plants along the country’s rivers. A new large hydroelectric power plant was inaugurated in the fall of Dubreka district north of the capital. It had cost $ 526 million to build, and had been largely funded by Chinese money. It had been built by 2,500 Guinean and 850 Chinese workers and was completed a year earlier than planned.

In particular, the cities have afforded their own diesel generators. Households’ wood consumption is expected to account for most of the country’s energy use. Guinea also imports electricity from neighboring countries.

Large parts of Guinea were previously wooded, but rainforests have been cut down and burned on a large scale in recent years to provide more agricultural land. Mining in sensitive areas has also caused great damage to nature.


Carbon dioxide emissions in total

2 450 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.2 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

76.3 percent (2015)



The coup condemned

The coup is condemned by the US, EU and AU. On December 29, the AU temporarily suspends Guinea’s membership in the organization.

New start for Guinea?

On December 27, the junta will hold meetings with religious leaders and representatives of trade unions, political parties and the media. Several civil organizations are expressing cautious optimism that the coup will mean a fresh start for the country.

The military wins the power struggle

The new junta, which consists of a hitherto unknown group of younger officers, promises free elections by December 2010, when Conté’s mandate would have expired. Captain Camara promises to relinquish power as soon as the election has been held (before the coup he was head of the army fuel supply).

President Conté dies

On December 22, President Lansana Conté dies. National Assembly Speaker Aboubacar Somparé urges the Supreme Court to appoint him president in accordance with the Constitution (elections must be held within 60 days). A few hours later, the army announces that the government has been dissolved and the constitution repealed. A new council, the National Council for Democracy, with both military and civilian members takes power under the leadership of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara.

Guinea Energy and Environment Facts

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