Guinea: Russia is ‘closely following’ the political situation in Conakry

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Guinea Coup – the Fall of Alpha Condé

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on Thursday, 9 September 2021 13:06
Dmitry Peskov, a Russian diplomat, is President Vladimir Putin's press secretary. He is pictured here at a press conference in December 2012. Illustration image © Commons

According to Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the government is paying particular attention to the impact of Guinea’s political situation on the metals market and the operator Rusal.

“We are closely following what is happening in Guinea. We would like the political situation in Guinea to return to legality as soon as possible,” said Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on 7 September, reported Turkish news agency Anadolu. “In any case, we hope that our entrepreneurs and companies’ business interests will not be affected and be guaranteed,” added the Russian leader, according to the same source.

Aluminium prices rise

“The events in Guinea are really a major factor that could negatively affect the entire aluminium market,” reports the official Russian news agency Tass.

On the London Metal Exchange, the price of aluminium is at its highest in 10 years at around $2,770 a tonne. It increased by $54 (+2%) on 6 September, the day after the coup in Conakry. Guinea is the world’s second-largest producer of bauxite (from which aluminium is extracted), extracting 82,000 t in 2020, i.e. more than 20% of world production. Russia is the 8th largest producer, as it extracted 6,100t last year.

The Moscow government’s statement comes hours after that of the Rusal mining group, a metals giant that made $8.57bn in revenue in 2020. It has a strong presence in Guinea, from where it operates the Friguia complex, which includes an alumina refinery and produces 2,100t of bauxite per year as well as controls the Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (3,500t). Lastly, it is developing the Dian-Dian mining complex, the largest bauxite deposit in the world with estimated reserves of several million tonnes.

In case of escalation

In a statement, Rusal said that its “number one priority […] is the health and safety of its employees and the continuity of its production processes.” The group has about 4,000 employees (direct and indirect) in Guinea. “In case of further escalation, the company is considering options for the evacuation of Russian personnel. The company is monitoring the situation and working closely with the Russian embassy in Guinea,” Rusal added.

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