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Simandou iron-ore project, Guinea – update

Image of iron-ore stockpiles

Photo by ©Reuters

8th December 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Simandou iron-ore project.

Location
Guinea.

Project Owner/s
Simfer Joint Venture (JV), comprising Rio Tinto, Chalco Iron Ore Holdings, a Chinalco-led consortium, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS), Baowu and the Republic of Guinea.

Simfer will own, develop and operate a 60-million-tonne-a-year mine in blocks 3 and 4 of the Simandou project and WCS is developing blocks 1 and 2.

Project Description
The Simandou project comprises three core elements – a mine, railway and port, as well as associated infrastructure.

The Simfer JV’s mine concession holds an estimated 2.8-billion-tonne mineral resource, of which 1.5-billion tonnes were converted to ore reserves that support a mine life of 26 years, with an average grade of 65.3%.

There will be an openpit iron-ore operation in the Simandou range, in south-eastern Guinea, with an expected peak production of between 95-million and 100-million tonnes a year.

Simandou blocks 1 and 2 are expected to produce 60-million tonnes a year and Rio's blocks 3 and 4 about 40-million tonnes a year.

The project includes an estimated 670 km railway to transport the iron-ore from the mine to the Guinean coast and a new deep-water port south of Conakry, on the Morebaya river.

Associated developments to provide utilities and supporting infrastructure for the project include construction facilities, access to materials, power generation, water, access roads and accommodation.

New infrastructure will become State property upon completion.

Construction of the project will be undertaken in two stages.

The first stage will develop the southern Ouelaba mine site, which will include the construction of the railway and port to a capacity of about 60-million tonnes a year.

The second stage will bring the northern Pic de Fon mine site on line and expand the capacity of rail and port facilities, increasing production to between 95-million and 100-million tonnes a year.

The mine will be the biggest integrated mine-and-infrastructure project ever developed in Africa.

Potential Job Creation
It is estimated that the project will create 10 000 direct jobs and more than 100 000 induced jobs, as well as employ more than 3 500 local subcontractors.

Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
A Rio Tinto engineering study conducted on the project estimates capital expenditure at $18.3-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
First production is expected in 2025, ramping up over 30 months.

Latest Developments
Rio Tinto has earmarked about $10-billion a year in capital investments from 2024 to 2026. The cornerstone of its investment strategy over the next three years will be its equity share of the project.

The initial capital allocation for Rio Tinto’s share in developing the Simfer mine, and co-developed rail and port infrastructure project at Simandou, amounts to $6.2-billion, the company has said.

The costs of the co-developed infrastructure capacity, which will allow for the export of up to 120-million tonnes a year of mine iron-ore by Simfer and WCS from their respective Simandou concessions, will be shared equally between the entities.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Fluor (construction contractor); and NRW Holdings (earthworks contract).

Contact Details for Project Information
Chinalco, tel +86 10 8229 8103, fax +86 10 8229 8081 or email info@chinalco.com.cn.
Rio Tinto, email media.enquiries@riotinto.com.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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