Guinea’s government has granted exploration permits for bauxite and iron ore to two companies from Japan and Brazil as the West African state intensifies efforts to develop its mineral resources, officials said. “Mitsubishi and Compan-hia Vale do Rio Doce (CVDR) have obtained mining exploration permits in Guinea. Their representatives were here in the last week,” Cece Noramou, a senior Mines Ministry official, told Reuters late on Saturday. Guinea has one third of the world’s known reserves of bauxite, the ore which is processed into alumina that is in turn smelted into aluminium. It also has large iron ore reserves. The West African state is developing its bauxite and alumina industry with Russian, U.S. and Canadian companies but has also granted exploration permits to Greek and Chinese mining firms. Noramou said Mitsubishi had been granted a bauxite exploration permit in the Boke zone, west of the concession held by the Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG), the world’s top bauxite exporter. CBG is majority controlled by Halco, a joint venture uniting aluminium giants Alcoa (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Alcan (AL.TO: Quote, Profile, Research). Mitsubishi received another bauxite exploration permit for Lelouma, and in addition had two iron ore permits for the triangle between Mamou, Faranah and Dabola in the centre-east of the country, Noramou said. CVDR, the world’s biggest iron ore miner, had obtained several bauxite permits for the Tougue-Mali zone and also one for iron ore. Mitsubishi would be delegating its prospecting work to France’s Bureau de Recher-ches Geologiques et Minieres (BRGM), Noramou said.