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Guinea’s new government has returned to the old dispute with RusAl over the Friguia bauxite and alumina complex. Guinea may file a $1b lawsuit against RusAl. The government claims that it was the sum that the state lost as the result of RusAl's illegitimate acquisition of the refinery.
A RusAl-operated plant at Friguia produces 2.1m tones of bauxite per year, which makes up for 15.3% of net production of RusAl in 2010. RusAl acquired the plant for $19m. After Capt Moussa Camara took power in Guinea in September 2009, a Guinean court ruled that the 2006 deal had been illegitimate, because the then-government had sold the refinery to RusAl at the price much lower than its valued cost ($257m). Camara’s administration made a probe into the RusAl operations. The company faced $860m sanctions for tax evasion and non-payment of royalties. Later, the sum was rounded up at $1b. In December 2009 Capt Camara suffered the attempt on his life and fled the country. In March 2010 the Guinean appellation court overturned the ruling of the lower court about illegitimacy of Friguia's acquisition.
In November 2010 the government in West Africa’s Guinea again changed: Alpha Conde, leader of the Rally of the Guinean People party, took power. In April 2011 the new government decided to reconsider the mining deals. Rio Tinto, one of the world's largest mining companies, which is engaged in Simandou iron-ore project, agreed to repay $700m with the possibility of returning 35% of shares to the country (including 15% for free).
But RusAl has already taken preventative measures. In July 2011 Friguia asked Paris-based International Court of Arbitration to consider the dispute between the owner of the company and the government. As in 2009, Friguia again wants to transfer the arbitration to the international court. In an international court, RusAl can find protection against the decisions of local courts and possible ban on export of alumina.
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