West African countries discuss mining law alignment

Four West African countries are discussing the alignment of their mining codes, tariffs and tax laws to assure mining industry investors, reports Dow Jones News.

Officials from Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Liberia are meeting in London this week as part of the West Africa Mining Investment Summit.

The region has mineral resources — gold, iron ore, bauxite, manganese — that governments want to develop to reduce poverty and cultivate local economies. Some investment has been deterred by tax changes and the high cost of building infrastructure, like railways and ports.

Guinea's iron ore deposits have been slow to develop due to the lack of infrastructure. Mali could also produce more iron ore with better power sources and railways.

Sierra Leone's mining minister said co-operation among the countries seeks to guard against disparities and imbalances between nations, protect investors and engage the community in dialogue about mine projects.

The country is also establishing a National Minerals Agency to regulate the industry and contribute to the poverty reduction. It will ensure the sector puts in $1.5 billion of the a $5.8 billion annual gross domestic product by 2015.

Royalties from mining will stay the same at 5% for precious metals, 6.5% for diamonds and 3% for iron ore and other minerals.

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