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The future of Mining Industry in Guinea

De
268 pages
Guinea was identified as a mining country long time ago since quantity of gold coming from the Bouré region, near Siguiri, constituted the power and reputation of medieval Mandingue empire. For the Guinean people and those observing them, the real scandal is having so much resources and remaining among the poorest countries in the world with the HDI classification ranking Guinea to the 160 th place out of 175 countries, while its income per capita is below $500/year. This book provides information on the potential and the evolution of the Guinean mining sector.
Voir plus Voir moins

The Future of Mining Industry

in Guinea

(Ç)L'HARMATTAN, 2008 5-7, rue de l'École-Polytechnique; 75005 Paris

http://www.librairieharmattan.com diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan l@wanadoo.fr ISBN: 978-2-296-07402-6 EAN: 9782296074026

Ibrahima

SOUMAH

The Future of Mining Industry Guinea

in

L'Iftmattan

L'f!t"mattan

~!9
with the compliments of Rio Tinto and Simfer And Alcoa Guinea
NB: all opinions expressed in this book involve the sole responsibility of their authors

p

Mf. Ibrahima SOUMAH is undeniably the most qualified person who can write a book dealing with the future of mining industry in Guinea. Due to his long experience in the sectors of mine and geology, he has been a witness to the creation of major and middle size mining projects for a very long time. Besides, for some of those projects, such as the Nimba-Simandou iron ore project, he took part in their development as an engineer, as well as a consultant, Ambassador in Liberia, senior advisor and finally as the Minister of Mines and Geology. However, Mr. Ibrahima SOUMAH's involvements easily exceeded the technical and financial aspects of mining programs. In the 1970s, he was one of the founders of the Institute of Mines and Geology of Boké while he was recently appointed as Minister of Technical Education and Vocational Training. Thus, the training and development of Guinean skilled executives working for the nation was obviously one ofhis highest priorities. The lack of success in this field meaning there could be no comprehensive future for mining industry in Guinea. I was personally privileged and pleased to work closely with Mf. SOUMAH. My first visit to Guinea dates back to April 1963. At that time, I was working as a research geologist at the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). Six years of negotiations between Guinea and six private companies ended up with the building, the commissioning and the launch of operations for Guinea Bauxite Company, then followed by my transfer to of the Mining Company of Dinguiraye (Société Minière de Dinguiraye - SMD) in Léro (l,200 kilo of gold a year), then to the rehabilitation of Friguia and finally to the creation of Global Alumina project making altogether a 23-year residency in Guinea. During part of those years, Mr. SOUMAH's presence and expertise were always sought at the time of negotiations and problem solving. He was always available, in a good mood and well prepared. He has become a genuine friend of mine who helped me to avoid the traps of political life and to master the practical and administrative complexities that are very often met in Guinea.

On the whole, I can only compliment Mr. lbrahima SOUMAH for this initiative consisting in establishing a conclusive guide aimed

at developing mining and industrial sector for the 21st century.

8

This book does not claim to cover all aspects of mining activities in Guinea. Its main purpose is to give an update on the situation regarding a key sector in the country's economical and sociallife. It is also a means to inform future senior staff of the national economy about the events that often go along with the creation and the development of a complex industrial project. For that reason, a significant part will be dealing with facts and events whenever it has been deemed useful and interesting. Our wish is that this task will be taken up and completed by others within the scope of senior staff continuing education and decision-makers' objective information. Weare thankful to everyone who helped or got involved in our interviews, and especially to the department of mine's high-ranking officials and mainly to all executives and anonymous workers of the mining industry for their utter dedication to duty and patriotism at all times.

9

In 1325, when Kankan Moussa, the emperor of medieval Mali, went to Mecca with 1,500 slaves each carrying a gold ingot on their heads, the Egyptian dinars exchange rate that played the role of present day dollar at that time, tumbled owing to the massive introduction of the yellow metal in Egypt. Gold was collected within the entire empire and mainly in the region of Bouré, which is located inside of Siguiri prefecture in Guinea. No wonder then, that the empire's prestigious capital was located in the same region. Indeed, Niani, which is presently one of the main archeological sites of Guinea, is a few kilometers away from Siguiri. Gold mining in Guinea obviously dates back well beyond the Middle Ages, as attested by the strength of Ghana Empire that traded gold for salt and cloth with North Africa. Consequently, the mining tradition is well embedded in this country, especially in its eastern region. Gold and minerals have no longer had secrets for the inhabitants for a long time and very resourceful artisanal men were very quickly able to melt iron ore and make guns and other tools. However, it's during the colonial era that the country found out its huge mining potentialities of iron, gold of course, but also of diamond and mainly bauxite that was later going to change Guinea's economic life fully. Besides, after the colonization and despite the country' s economic collapse under the hyper-centralized regime of President Sekou Touré, the new State was able to survive, and that even after the advent of the second Republic, only thanks to the income stemming from mining exploitation. With about 10,000 permanent jobs, for more than 30 years, the mining sector has secured 60% of government income revenues, 80% of export earnings in foreign currency, and contributed to the built-up of Guinea's GDP up to 30%.

The national territory of Guinea is located in the westernmost region of the African continent between 7° and 12° latitude north, and 8° and 15° longitude west covering a surface area of245,000 Km2. It is bordered in the west by the Atlantic Ocean on 300 km of coast while its inland borders are surrounded by 6 countries, namely Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Guinea is divided into four natural regions that are Coastal Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea.

Administrative map of Guinea:

M '''om'""

Coastal Guinea includes a coast of 50 to 90 km large with extended bays, marshy lagoons covered with mangroves, estuaries of numerous rivers. This zone houses Conakry, the capital, which is built on the Kaloum peninsula. In addition to that, Coastal Guinea has 2 regional capitals: Kindia and Boké. Middle Guinea is the highland region of Fouta Djalon with its highest point rising to 1,500 meter near Mali.

This region is home to the source of many large West-African rivers: Gambia, Konkouré, Senegal, Niger, etc., which earned Guinea's the name of the Water Tower of Africa. Upper Guinea is the land of huge plains watered by the Niger and Senegal river basins. Forest Guinea has a humid subequatorial climate with wooded mountains rising to 1,850 m at its highest point located in Mont Nimba. The Guinean climate consists in a rainy season alternating with a long dry season except in the Forest Region that has a long rainy season. The average rainfall is 2,000 mm a year with peaks of 4,000 mm within the area of Conakry and Coyah. The global population of Guinea exceeded 8,000,000 in 2004, with a yearly progression of2.7% in the last ten years. Like many developing countries, this population is naturally very young, with 70% of them under 30 years of age, and with an increasing number of women who make up 52% of the population. In addition, it is considered that 60% of the population live in the rural areas. The average density of this population is 28 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Significant growth of the resident population between 1983 and 1996
Age 0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 Total population 1983 Male 388,000 355,000 261,000 213,000 150,000 153,000 2,270,000 Female 376,000 333,000 221,000 228,000 200,000 218,000 2,391,000 1996 Both sexes Male 764,000 688,000 483,000 441,000 350,000 370,000 4,661,000 635,000 610,000 409,000 3 Il, 000 231,000 234,000 3,449,000 Female 621,000 587,000 358,000 343,000 280,000 311, 000 3,609,000 Both sexes l, 256, 000 l, 196,000 768,000 654,000 512,000 546,000 7,059,000

Source: Resen - World Bank in Guinea

14

Applicable growth rate.

Number (000) i12843

!10,881 110,104

4,46t
2.7°~770

1829

2.3%
1983
I

i

1996

2015

Source: Resen - World Bank in Guinea

Primary school education has taken a great leap forward in Guinea if we consider that the literacy rate rocketed from 30% to 80% in lO years with the most rapid growth observed among girls. This rate has placed Guinea among one of the front runners of comparable West African countries and indicates the reach of the EFA (Education for all) target through universal education by 2015.

15

International

comparison of primary education literacy rate (in 1990 and 2004)

Country Guinea Benin Burkina Faso Mali Mauritania Niger Senegal Togo! Average 7 countries
Source: Resen - World Bank in Guinea

Gross rate of literacy in pnmary schools (in %) 1990 2004 81 34 58 97 33 50 27 61 49 88 29 48 59 79 109 124 50 79

Guinea's natural resources are even more impressive as, in addition to mining resources that are the main topic of this book, the country has a tremendous agricultural potential for producing rice, maize, tubers, fruits and vegetables. Some other significant assets are also known in the fields of tourism, handicrafts and culture. Guinea's main difficulty lies in its weakness to develop its natural resources and in the chronic poor management of its low income. As a result, its GDP is among the lowest in the continent (500$/inhabitant), and therefore in the world, and its growth is often below the demographic growth, which brought about a rise in poverty from 2000 to 2004, since the rate of absolute poverty rose from 40% to 50% despite an improvement in its HDI owing mainly to good results from the education system. Furthermore, the following table of the main macroeconomic aggregates clearly brings out the structural weaknesses of Guinean economy.

16

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Above all, we observe that more than half the budget originates from external aid and that the raising of national resources does not reach Il % of the GDP compared to the average 20% in the region.

19

Geological outline Some people tried to describe Guinea as the continent's third geological scandal, behind South Africa and Katanga (Shaba). In fact, the real scandal lies in the fact that so significant resources have remained unexploited for decades, while Guinea was regularly lagging behind the list of the countries classified by international organizations. Guinea' s geology is characterized by the predominance of the Precambrian and the Paleozoic Rocks that are spread along the Guinean-Liberian shield.

In the center, the Fouta Djalon massif, which is composed of the Silurian shale and the Ordovician sandstone, experienced the 21

massive arrival in the Tertiary of the dolerites, a parent rock of the gigantic bauxitic laterite deposits. In the North-East the Birrimian that is well-known for its gold bearing potential has prevailed. In the North and the South-East is a large crystalline zone within which the itabirites paved the way for the occurrences of significant concentrations of iron ore. Lithotectonic Map of the Republic of Guinea:

.'.,,,,,.

UTHOTECTONIQUE DE LA REPUBLIQUE DE GLIINEE
~ '. "ww"".www""www'

CARTE

Towards the coast and in the North-West schist has spread out, constituting the shield of the world's best bauxites, while the crystalline zone re-emerges in the South of the coast. The geological presentation would be partial if we did not mention the case of the kimberlites of the Tertiary according to the alignment copiously described by M. G. Bardet, a geologist at BRGM, as they gave rise to the most beautiful diamond stones of West Africa. The interest for a better knowledge of Guinea' s geology lies in the fact that it provides satisfactory explanations of the variety and the abundance of this country' s exceptional mineralization. A simplified stratigraphy shows the following formations according to BRGM ( Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières of France): 22

1- The Archean or Liberian closely connected to local geology with an age range comprised between 2700 and 3000 MA. The formations resulting from this are heavily folded and metamorphosed with powerful series called: - The Kassila series (Forécariah) - The Kambui series (DaboIa) - The Simandou series(Nimba) These formations gave rise to the iron deposits of Nimba and Simandou as well as to the radioactive zones of Kissidougou, Beyla and Kérouané. 2- The Lower Proterozoic or Birrimian They are less metamorphosed volcanic-sedimentary formations than the Archean formations and are about 2000 MA. They are found in the following series: The Marampa series (Forécariah, Kindia) The Bassaris series (Youkounkoun) The Siguiri basin, Kankan. Gold deposits are linked to Birrimian formations, in the Siguiri

Basin - Kankan and to the basic rocks of Niandan Banié that
contain the main deposits of the primary gold-bearing beds of Guinea. 3- The Upper Proterozoic which is dated between 1650 and 1200 MA is composed of series lying in discordance on the Archean and Birrimian basement. The following formations are the most known: The Youkounkoun series made of fine sandstones The Madina Kouta series (Mali) made of quartz sandstone These series were extensively studied by Cogema which found out significant uranium occurrences 4- The Paleozoic or primary comprising intrusions connected to an intense tectonic represented by: The Pita senes made of quartz conglomerates. - The Télimélé series made of argillites and as numerous iron mineralizations that are formations. important basic phase is namely sandstone and

sandstone, as well linked to those

23

5- The Mezoic and the Cenozoic These most recent geological formations constitute the source of Ni, Cr, Co occurrences of Kaloum. The kimberlitic diamond is dated in the same era. Bauxite and iron of Kaloum were also developed in the Neogene period. In order to have more details on the Geology of Guinea, it is useful to consult specialized books and above all the very numerous publications of Ministry of Mines. It is for instance the case of the following studies: Geological works from the colonial era. Geological works from the soviet mission The compilation of the BRGM The Geosurvey Compilation The BGR Compilation The Compilation of the World Bank Project on the Mining sector known as PISM (a world bank project for mining sector). The minerals occurrences study book published in 1983 by BRGM of France on the funding of the World Bank perfectly summed up the geological works that had been undertaken until then, that is to say during the colonial era, the works of the BRGM, the soviet mission, Cogema and Geosurvey. These works were later completed by the World Bank and the French Cooperation in 2000.

24

Main Events

Specific fossils

.saplens, .neanderthalensis .erectus H.habilis, H.ergaster bel, Lucy Toumaï

apparition of the first odern mammals

mmonites

ermian extinction nany insects; Ifst reptiles; first big rimitive trees lrst amphibians; lOrsetails, ferns. Ifst terrestrial plants; lrst primitive fish lain and seaweed; redominance
.

reefal

raptolites of nvertebrates najor diversification; irst green and red rilobites seaweeds evelopment of the angea continent; first etazoans, worms and oelenterates.

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Irst eukarvotes; pparition of the

xygenA,

disappearance of the ethane CH4; isappearance of the tromatolites arbon dioxide CO,; rcheobacteries development of oceans due to water condensatio .n the atmosphere composed of de CO, an N" ~; solidification of the earth crust; cooling 0 heearth

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