MAC: Mines and Communities

Guinea labour unions call for cancellation of BSGR, RUSAL contracts

Published by MAC on 2012-12-27
Source: Reuters (2012-12-17)

Guinea labour unions call for cancellation of BSGR, RUSAL contracts

Reuters

17 December 2012

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinean labor unions backed by the main worker federation, CNTG, called on Friday for contracts with Israeli firm BSGR and Russia's UC RUSAL to be cancelled, a union leader said.

"The Guinean labour movement demands from the government the cancellation pure and simple of these contracts," union leader Mamady Mansare said on state television.

Along with Brazilian partner Vale, BSGR, the mining arm of Israeli entrepreneur Beny Steinmetz's business conglomerate, controls blocs 1 and 2 of the Simandou mine, site of the world's largest untapped deposit of iron ore.

However the government is currently reviewing BSGR's rights over the blocs.

Mansare denounced what he said were "serious breaches of procedure" in the granting of the concessions to BSGR.

The CNTG initially called upon the government of Guinea, the world's top producer of the aluminium ore bauxite, to annul its contract with RUSAL in September.

The 2006 deal sold the country's Friguia alumina refinery to RUSAL for $19 million, a price the current government says was too low.

"The sale of the Friguia aluminium plant to RUSAL was done in violation of Guinean law concerning the transfer of public goods," Mansare said.

The 630,000 tonne per year refinery in the town of Fria has been shut since April following a violent labour dispute.

Guinea's powerful labour movement paralysed the country for two months through a general strike in early 2007 before it was violently put down by the army, causing the deaths of at least 150 people.

(Reporting Saliou Samb; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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