Fortescue plans mining in Gabon in 2023

8th February 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH ( – Iron-ore major Fortescue has signed a mining convention for its Belinga iron-ore project, in Gabon, with mining planned to start in the second half of 2023.

The mining convention governs all the legal, fiscal and regulatory regimes for the 4 500 km2 which comprises the Belinga project, including early development for production of up to two-million tonnes a year, while studies advance potential designs of a large-scale development.

“The Gabonese Republic chose Fortescue to develop Belinga not only due to our strong track record of delivering major projects, but due also to our company-wide commitment to use our major industrial scale and expertise to assist heavy industry combat climate change,” said Fortescue founder and executive chairperson Dr Andrew Forrest.

“The climate threat is now incorporated as a key risk by government’s the world over. Critically, it's considered a threat to Gabon’s rich natural heritage. Geological mapping and sampling programmes have confirmed our initial thoughts that this new West African iron-ore hub may well one day prove to be among the largest in the world.

“The key aspect of this particular geology is its potential to dovetail with Fortescue Pilbara ore blends. In doing so it will preserve and enhance the iron-ore industry of both Australia and Gabon,” said Forrest.

Belinga is expected to require a capital investment of $200-million for the early stage operation, with investment to take place over 2023/24. The project will involve a conventional openpit operation with the ore to be trucked and railed over existing infrastructure, and shipped from the Owendo Mineral Port, near Libreville.

The project operated by Ivindo Iron is 90% held by the Belinga joint venture (JV) company, which in turn is 80% held by Fortescue and 20% by its JV partner the African Transformation and Industrialization Fund.

Under the Gabon Mining Code, the Gabon government will have a free carry interest of 10% in Ivindo Iron.