Guinea ministry, US oil comany dispute deal review

Guinea ministry, US oil comany dispute deal review

Guinea`s Mines Ministry said the country`s parliament had recommended it renegotiate contracts with a US oil company and a Russian-controlled bauxite producer to obtain better terms for the nation.

Guinea`s new government, appointed in March as part of a deal to end violent strikes and protests in the world`s top bauxite exporter, said last month it would review all mining contracts to seek greater benefits for the nation.

The government said that while it wanted to honour deals with foreign investors, they too had a responsibility to help contribute more to development in a country where despite its mineral riches most of the population live in poverty.

The National Assembly on Monday unanimously approved a report by its Mines Commission which said a vote on whether to adopt as law the Hyperdynamics deal, and an annexe of an accord with Compagnie de Bauxite de Kindia (CBK), which is run by Russian aluminium producer RUSAL, should be postponed to June.

“Taking account of the internal and external factors which divide the two sides, the National Assembly invites them to the negotiating table and to put back the examination of the dossier to a second reading by parliament in June 2007,” the commission report, which was read to the parliament, said.

Mines Minister Kante, who has said the government wants to change aspects of the agreements seen as not serving national interests, welcomed the assembly decision.

“We are not prepared to give away the natural resources of this country. In this regard, I am happy to see that we are in step with the country`s national assembly,” Kante said.

Senior Mines Ministry official Cece Noramou told Reuters, “We are now going to renegotiate calmly with our partners and reach an understanding on a text before the cabinet sends it to the parliament again.”

As a first step in its announced move to review mining contracts last month, the government ordered the withdrawal from consideration by parliament of the 2006 Hyperdynamics contract and the so-called C Annexe of the CBK contract, a move initially opposed by national assembly leaders.

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