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Russians refuse wage demands of striking Guinean miners

Africa's first aluminum refinery, in the town of Fria, north of Guinea's capital Conakry, remains locked down five months after workers struck the plant in a fierce battle over wages. The mine's Russian owners abandoned their posts alleging security reasons.

Rusal, the Russian company, objected to the country's revised mining code that would give the West African nation a 15% share in mining companies and offered greater transparency.

The "mining code adopted in Guinea increases considerably tax pressure on mining companies, making it senseless to invest in development and new projects," Moscow-based Rusal was quoted to say. "Any investor of good sense will look for investment opportunities somewhere outside Guinea."

Guinea, the world's largest exporter of bauxite, the main ingredient in aluminum, is home to some of the largest, undeveloped high-grade, iron-ore reserves. Yet it is one of Africa's poorest countries.

Elsewhere in Guinea, five people were killed by security forces last month at a protest for jobs in Zogota, where a joint venture between Brazil's Vale, the world's second largest mining company, and Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG Resources is seeking to build an iron ore mine, an official in the mines ministry said.

Global Information Network