When he came to power on December 21 2010, President Alpha Conde promised a "new era". Two years on, it has become clear that management of the country's mineral resources is more than ever under his personal control. From the Sekhoutoureya Palace in Conakry, Alpha Condé exercises direct control of mineral resources via a number of carefully constructed networks. Mining Insiders Guinea describes these different structures and analyses the influence exercised by the 40 or so people who constitute them, as well as the Russian doll-like way they fit together.

At the top of the pyramid, the innermost circle has been built around the presidency itself and the Condé family clan (see "The family clan"). It is headed by Mohamed Alpha Condé, the president's son and dauphin, who works alongside his father as a special adviser. This circle has control over all the other networks, starting with that constituted by the multitude of presidential advisers active in the mining sector, the most prominent of whom end of 2012 was Alkhaly Yamoussa Bangoura. To the latter can be added a collection of outside support structures which are very intrusive in mining affairs (see "Outside backers"). The most notable of these are the NGOs led by American billionaire philanthropist George Soros and former British prime minister Tony Blair. In the public sector, the Ministry of Mines and the new state-controlled company, Société Guinéenne du Patrimoine Minier (SOGUIPAMI) (see "The public sector") are key channels for the transmission of decisions taken by the presidency. But President Condé's influence extends also to the private sector through local industrial leaders and the Guinean managers of the major foreign mining groups (see "The private operators"). Finally, lawyers and special emissaries (see "The intermediaries") complete the close-knit command structure of a sector which is one of the country's main revenue producers.