AFP - Guinea, the world's top bauxite exporter, will renegotiate all mining contracts and freeze gold extraction until further notice, the leader of a junta that took power in a recent coup said Saturday.
"We have blocked the mining sector," Captain Moussa Dadis Camara said in a speech. "There will be a renegotiation of contracts."
"In gold mining areas, the decision has already been taken: no more extraction until further notice," he added.
Camara spoke at a meeting at the Camp Alpha Yaya Diallo military camp with about 1,000 in attendance, including representatives of political parties, unions and religious groups.
He pledged to root out corruption in the mineral-rich country, saying "it was the government officials who surrounded the head of state who looted the country."
The junta led by Camara took power in a coup that followed longtime leader Lansana Conte's death on Monday.
More than a third of the world's bauxite reserves are located in Guinea, making it the second-largest producer internationally after Australia and the world's biggest exporter.
It also has large reserves of gold, diamonds, iron and nickel, while uranium deposits were found at various sites in 2007.
Despite its vast natural resources, the West African nation ranks 160th out of 177 in the UN's development scale.
"Anyone found guilty of corruption will be punished," Camara warned. "Anyone who has misappropriated state assets for his benefit, if caught, will be judged and punished before the people."
Announcing an action plan to clean up the government, Camara lambasted "the irresponsibility and notorious incapacity of the parliament and the notorious corruption" of the government he toppled this week.
Camara also promised to review the government's finances.
The coup has been largely condemned abroad and the African Union said Saturday it would continue to oppose the coup as unconstitutional.
However the junta on Friday was backed by regional heavyweight Senegal, whose President Abdoulaye Wade said Camara was an honest young man who had taken power to fill a dangerous vacuum.