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Protest forces AngloGold Ashanti to suspend Guinea gold mine

CONAKRY (Reuters) - South African miner AngloGold Ashanti suspended its gold mining operations in Guinea after a community protested on its Siguiri mining site, its Guinea subsidiary Societe Aurifère de Guinee (SAG) said in a statement.

Protesters from the Fatoyah community invaded the site on Friday, erected barricades and disrupted production in order to demand the tarring of a road. SAG had to suspend its operations to safeguard its staff and property, the company said.

"There is a tacit agreement between SAG and the villagers [...] to tar this road," resident Moussa Condé told Reuters by telephone.

AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Stewart Bailey said the company is in talks with community leaders to resolve the dispute.

A 30 km (18.6 mile) tarred road linking the towns of Siguiri and Kintinian was recently completed, he said. The project was a partnership between the government and AngloGold Ashanti.

The suspension puts a halt to all extraction and processing activities at the mine and pauses sub-contracting services to SAG. Only a skeleton staff will remain on site, SAG said.

AngloGold Ashanti owns 85% of SAG, whose Siguiri mine produced 242,000 ounces (6.9 tonnes) of gold in 2018.

(Reporting by Saliou Samb in Conakry and Helen Reid in Johannesburg, Editing by David Evans)