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Guinea lawmakers approve JV for Simandou iron-ore development

5th February 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Guinea’s National Transition Council approved a joint venture between Rio Tinto, China-backed Winning Consortium Simandou and the government that seeks to develop the world’s biggest untapped iron ore reserve.

The council, which is the equivalent of a parliament body in the West African nation, said it voted and gave the green light to plans that include constructing a mine, rail line and port in Simandou by December 2025, said Mory Dounoh, a spokesperson for the council.

First production is expected in 2026 and the goal is also to build a steel factory and pellet plant in the 2030s.

The Simandou project in Guinea has some of the richest iron ore deposits, but its development has been stymied for years by disputes over ownership and infrastructure, and by political changes in Guinea. The deposit is divided into four blocks owned separately by Winning Consortium, Rio and Aluminum Corp. of China, known as Chinalco

Rio and Winning will be subject to financial penalties if they fail to meet construction deadlines approved as part of the JV agreement, Dounoh said.

“Guinea reserves the right to cancel without any compensation mining permits and infrastructure agreements relating to port and rail line works one year from the start of the application of penalties,” he added.

Edited by Bloomberg

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