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West Africa Rising: Guinea to sign $5.8 billion mining deal with Chinese firm

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West Africa Rising is a weekly look at business, investment, and development trends.

In Conakry, Guinean officials are on the verge of signing a $5.8 billion mining deal with a Chinese state-owned fund, Reuters reports.

In return for digging rights to a plot outside the capital, China Power Investment would finance the construction of a coal power plant, a deep water port, and a refinery long sought after by the nation's rulers.

West Africa's newest democracy sits on top of half the world's reserves of bauxite, the principle ore used in aluminum. From independence until last year, Guinea was brutally ruled by a sequence of dictatorships. Now the former French colony is looking to make up five lost decades through quick swaps of mining rights for infrastructure.

Its latest deal with China – and there have been several, including billions of dollars in trade of bauxite for ports, roads, railroads, and housing – would see the rising world power construct what be only Guinea's second refinery.

That alone is a symbolic victory for a country that hoards so much of the ore, yet uses so little of it, and refines almost none of it.

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