Guinea’s fast-growing bauxite mining industry is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Guineans, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Mining has destroyed ancestral farmlands, damaged water sources and coated homes and trees in dust.
Human Rights Watch interviewed over 300 residents who have lost land to privately-owned mining developments. These are their stories.
The 146-page report, “What Do We Get Out of It?,” focuses on two mining projects that were Guinea’s two largest bauxite producers in 2017: La Société Minière de Boké (SMB), a joint venture linked to the world’s largest aluminum producer, China Hongqiao Group, that has expanded extremely rapidly since it began in 2015; and la Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG), a decades-old company co-owned by multinationals Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Guinea’s government, which has transformed Guinea into the world’s third-largest exporter, should take immediate steps to better regulate companies and protect communities.
“Bauxite mining, unless properly regulated, threatens to destroy the way of life and livelihoods of dozens of communities at the front line of mining operations,” said Jim Wormington, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Guinean government’s focus on growing the bauxite sector has too often taken precedence over the protection of the environment and human rights.”