Guinea is a neighbor to top gold producers in African such as Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Like its neighbors, Guinea lies on the gold-rich Birimian greenstone belt. Although the mining industry in Guinea is still developing, the country has great potential as a gold producer. This potential has been demonstrated by the recent gold discoveries of commercially viable gold deposits as a result of the increased gold exploration activities in the country. A perfect example of this is the discovery of the Siguiri gold mine, which is estimated to contain about 6.5 million ounces of gold.
History of Mining in Guinea
The Mining of gold dates back to prehistoric time. Guinea occupies what was formally known as the Asante Kotoko kingdom. The kingdom was known for producing gold that was exchanged during the great trans-Saharan Trade.
In fact, it is believed that ancient, Buré Goldfields from the prehistoric times cover the most of North East Guinea and South West Mali. This is the area that hosts both the Tongoro gold mine in Mali and the Siguiru gold mine in Guinea today.
It is actually believed that the name Guinea was derived from the slang word ‘guinea’ used to refer to gold producing regions in the West Africa in the 15th century.
Importance of Mining to the Economy of Guinea
Today gold mining is increasingly becoming an important player in the economy of Guinea just as is the case with most of its neighbors. Guinea has several gold mines and prospecting projects most of which are located in the Northeast region of the country. This is thanks to interest from international firms in the recent past.
As new deposits are expected to be found in Guinea, it is likely to contribute significantly to this very poor nation.
Mining Companies in Guinea
The major international players in the production of gold in Guinea are the Societe Ashanti de Guinee (SAG) and the Societe Miniere de Dinguiraye (SMD).
The SMD is a joint venture between the government of Guinea and the Guinor Gold Corp and is responsible for the operation of the Lero-Karta gold mine located in Northern Guinea. The company also has several other exploration licenses for projects still under development.
The Lero mine uses the heap leach process to produce gold. This method is ideal for mineralized sandstones, conglomerates, and breccias. Today the mine produces about 300,000 oz of gold annually. The mine is estimated to contain about 13.7 metric turns of gold of 2.6g/t grade.
The company also operate the Kart open pit mine which is estimated to have about 185 000 tons of gold at 4.6g/t grade. It is also developing the Fayalala project which is about 10 km from the Lero mine.
The Societe Ashanti de Guinee (SAG) is a joint venture between the government of Guinea and the AngloGold Ashanti. The Ashanti Goldfields, which merged, with AngloGold to form AngloGold Ashanti has been in the country since 1998 when it acquired the interests of the Golden Shamrock in the SAG. The company runs the Suguiri gold mine which produces about 250,000 oz of gold annually.
Another important player is the Semafo (formally Jean Gobele) which has been operation since 2002 and runs the Kiniero Gold mine in central Guinea. The mine is located about 500 km towards the Northeast of Conakry, and its annual production is about 60,000 oz of gold. The mine resource is estimated to be at about 5.07 tons at an average of 3.12g/t grading.
Other companies engaged in the exploration and development of gold resources in the country includes the Cassidy Gold Corp, which has a diamond-drilling program that tests quartz veins for gold in Kouroussa and the Mano River Resource Inc that targets phorphyry mineralization and quartz veins in the Gueliban and Missamana areas to the east of Kankan.