Guinea’s trade unions have suspended a nationwide strike that had been ongoing since Monday and crippled the country’s mining sector.

The Guinean Trade Union Movement, a group representing multiple workers’ unions, said in a statement on Wednesday that it would suspend the general strike following the release of Sékou Jamal Pendessa, secretary-general of the Union of Press Professionals of Guinea. Pendessa’s release from detention was a key demand from the unions when the strike began.

The statement added that the group is willing to resume negotiations as early as Thursday. It reiterated remaining demands that will be brought to talks with the West African nation’s junta government. These include lowering the prices of basic foods, lifting internet restrictions and the formal application of a minimum wage deal agreed with the government in November last year.

The strike had been severely disrupting mining operations across the country as usually bustling streets in the nation’s capital were left deserted.

On Monday, a senior official at a mining company told reporters that the situation was “untenable,” adding that “everything is at a standstill”. The union had originally said the duration of the strike would be indefinite.

Guinea has been under the control of a military junta, which seized power in 2021 after a coup. Anti-government protests have sporadically erupted throughout the past few years, intensifying over recent months. So far, all have been quashed by the junta, sometimes violently.

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Strikes follow the sudden dissolution of the transitional government, which had been in power since July 2022, by the military junta without explanation.

The nation is the world’s second-biggest bauxite producer. Traders said earlier this week that alumina prices in China were trading higher due to the strike.

Guinea is also home to a massive iron ore project, approved by mining major Rio Tinto’s board last week, that will see the construction of 552km of new railways and several new mines.