Reuters International

File picture of Guinea's president Alpha Conde, leader of Rassemblement du Peuple de Guinea (RPG), at the inauguration ceremony of the passenger harbor of Sandervalia in Conakry October 8, 2015. Guinea will hold its presidential election on Sunday. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

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By Saliou Samb

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea will take legal action against watchdog group Global Witness over a report that said Sable Mining Africa Ltd financed President Alpha Conde's election campaign in 2010, the president said on Sunday.

The legal action would aim to force Global Witness to provide proof to back up its claims, said Conde who denied the allegations.

The watchdog group also said in its report published last week that Sable Mining, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, paid money to Conde's son, Alpha Mohammed Conde, for bribes to secure the rights to its Mount Nimba iron ore concession.

"No member of my family is involved in anything corrupt," Conde told a news conference on his return from a foreign trip on state business. He gave no further details of the contemplated legal action.

"Since I have been in power we have made transparency in the mining sector a priority. It's for this reason that we have annulled 800 (mining) permits that were not active and which the holders were using for speculation," he said.

Global Witness specializes in investigating illegality and corruption in the natural resources sector. It based its report on what it said were leaked company documents.

The report, which Reuters was unable to verify independently, did not specify the nature of those documents.

Calls to the organisation on Sunday seeking comment were not answered. An email on Sunday to Sable Mining Africa's public relations agency requesting comment was not answered.

Conde was elected in 2010 after decades of dictatorship and authoritarian rule. His election was considered democratic and he was re-elected last year to a further five-year term.

The West African state has significant mineral resources, in particular iron ore, and the government carried out a review of mining permits between 2012 and 2015 to ensure that deals had been negotiated legally and transparently.

Conde said Guinea will double its bauxite production between now and 2018 and improve its energy production in the medium term to help the aluminium industry.

"We aim to export more than 50 million tonnes of bauxite within the next two years," he told the news conference.

(Additional reporting and writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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