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The three core Mano River Union countries are confronted by major decisions that will shape their future direction, from potential progress on major resources plays led by Guinea’s huge Simandou iron ore mining and infrastructure development and Liberia’s struggles with major investor Arcelor Mittal to Sierra Leone’s political crisis. All three have searching questions of governance and equity for their populations, writes Jon Marks with correspondents in Freetown, Conakry and Monrovia.

Sierra Leone | Guinea | Liberia
Issue 467 - 02 September 2022

Guinea: Norgold commissions 33MW mine unit

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Norgold Group has commissioned a 33MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) power plant at its Lefa gold mine project in Guinea. The $30m project will cut the mine’s fuel consumption electricity production by 15% and engine oil by 30% and result in a 17,000-ton reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Guinea
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The West African Transco CLSG transmission network is working to build a second 243MW line, begin energy trade with indebted Liberia and integrate C&I customers and renewable energy sources into the sub-regional network that covers Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Sierra Leone | Guinea | Liberia | Côte d'Ivoire
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Australian junior Arrow Minerals has made a bold play to position itself in Guinea’s major iron ore region, agreeing with Singapore-based Amalgamated Minerals to buy into a project called Simandou North, which could piggy-back onto much bigger Simandou projects’ long-anticipated infrastructure mega-developments.

Guinea
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Vivo Energy has completed the Nampala mine solar and battery plant project in Mali for Robex Resources and has signed an agreement for work at the Kiniéro goal mine in Guinea, operated by Sycamore Mining, which Robex is taking over.

Guinea | Mali
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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has lined up $66.4m for the Guinea Electricity Access Improvement Project (PAAEG), to improve supply in at least 40 localities. The package comprises a $13.54m African Development Fund (AfDF) concessional commitment and $52.85m million from the AfDB’s African Transition Facility, which supports fragile and conflict-affected states.

Guinea
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Guinea is to launch its first offshore licensing round in 10 years, with 22 blocks up for auction. Bidding terms are understood to have been finalised for West Africa’s least developed oil and gas producer.

Guinea
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Project bulletin

Turkey’s Karpowership is looking to begin negotiations with the Guinean authorities on a contract extension for the Ibrahim Bey powership.

Guinea
Free
Project bulletin

Financial close on the 128MW Sambangalou cross-border hydroelectric power project is expected in early July, following delays.

Guinea | Senegal
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The World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of International Disputes (Icsid) has ruled in the Conakry government’s favour that there was overwhelming evidence that Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) obtained mining rights for the Simandou iron ore project’s blocks 1 and 2 through corrupt practices.

Guinea
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Key partners in the giant Simandou iron ore project – potentially Africa’s biggest new minerals and infrastructure scheme – are thought to be close to finalising the terms of their joint development, although governance issues appear to have caused a last-minute delay.

Guinea
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners are planning to create what they call the world’s largest mini-grid market in Nigeria, using the new Leveraging Energy Access Finance (Leaf) financing model to support the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)’s Nigeria Electrification Programme (NEP).

Kenya | Ghana | Nigeria | Ethiopia | Guinea
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Since the putsch that removed the now-exiled President Alpha Condé in September, ‘Interim President’ Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has been determined to stamp his mark on Guinea. His policies may be less confrontational than those of his friend Colonel Assimi Goïta in Mali, who replaced French forces with Russian Wagner Group paramilitaries, but Doumbouya has nevertheless asserted control over his country’s political and business life.

Guinea
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a commitment of up to $165m for the Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework (Leaf) programme, which promotes solar home systems, green mini-grids and solar PV systems for commercial and industrial offtakers.

Kenya | Ghana | Nigeria | Ethiopia | Guinea | Tunisia
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Colonel Mamady Doumbouya’s cabinet has been presented by his regime as bringing technocrats into key positions to improve the government’s performance, but critics say ministers are either too ‘apolitical’ to enact genuine change, or compromised by past business dealings. A strong signal comes with the presidency taking direct control of major state assets from other public sector bodies, write David Slater, Jon Marks and our Special Correspondent

Guinea