The West African nation of Guinea-Bissau is blessed with abundant natural resources, a growing energy sector, as well as large tracts of arable land. Bauxite is the cornerstone of the Guinean economy and is the country’s main foreign currency earner. Today, Guinea-Bissau has the world´s third largest reserves of bauxite (aluminum ore), and exports of this strategic commodity contribute to more than 50% of the country’s exports, and over 90% of export revenue. Many of these mineral exports go to China as a key input to fuel the global supply chain.
The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) notes that the government of Guinea-Bissau seeks to continue attracting high levels of FDI in the country’s mining sector, which undoubtedly has the potential to further transform the economy of the country as a source of new employment generation and catalyst for long-term economic growth. In addition to the strategic export-oriented bauxite industry, Guinea also produces gold and diamonds. Furthermore, mining industry analysts at the EITI note that the country also has significant reserves of iron and nickel.
In recent years Guinea has positioned itself as one of the leading global suppliers of bauxite, the key resource used to make light metal aluminum. During 2020, Guinea exported over 82.4 million tons of bauxite, making it one of the worlds’ single largest exporters, according to metal brokerage company Marex.
Some of the key players operating in Guinea’s bauxite industry currently include Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), which is the joint venture partnership between the Government of Guinea, the U.S.-based mining company Alcoa, and the Anglo-Australian mining titan Rio Tinto. Although CBG still holds the largest overall bauxite reserves, another increasingly important player is the Société Minière de Boke (SMB) which is a conglomerate between France and Singapore, and recently overtook CBG as the largest bauxite producer, according to the U.S. Department of State.
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