JOHANNESBURG, Oct 4 (Reuters) – As mining companies in Guinea ramp up bauxite production, they are upending rural communities and undermining air and water quality while government authorities fail to rein in abuses, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Thursday.
In the past three years, the West African nation, Africa’s biggest producer of the aluminium ore, has seen bauxite output explode, mainly on the back of demand from China.
Despite the growth in economic activity however, Guinea’s bauxite mining heartland has been racked by unrest in recent years, fuelled by the frustrations of the local population.
“The widespread perception among residents of mining-affected communities … is that they have been abandoned by the state to resolve problems with mining companies on their own,” the report stated.
Guinea’s mines ministry responded to HRW’s findings by stating it had already launched a sweeping audit of the mining sector and companies would be compelled to make improvements where needed.
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