Guinea: $15 billion deal for Simando iron reserves

An agreement worth $15 billion has been signed between the State of Guinea, the Winning Consortium and the Rio Tinto Simfer to exploit the vast iron deposits of Simando (southeast), public television Guinea RTG announced.

The tripartite agreement, signed on Friday evening for a period of 35 years, provides for co-development between Rio Tinto with its subsidiary Simfer (Blocks 3 and 4) and the Winning Consortium (Blocks 1 and 2).

The Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto is affiliated with Chinalco in a joint venture for the exploitation of the deposit and Singapore Winning Shipping with Chinese aluminum producer Shandong Weiqiao, Yantas Port Group and the Guinea company United Mining Supply.

Simandou is home to one of the largest iron deposits in the world, but also a sea serpent.

According to Fadi Wazzani, head of the Winning Consortium, speaking to RTG, the contract pertains to “infrastructure, mining development, ports”. It provided for the construction of a railway of approximately 670 km to connect the mining corridor to an ore port on the Guinea coast south of Conakry.

The railway and deepwater port are expected to be completed in December 2024 under the terms of the agreement announced to RTG. And the first commercial production should see the light of day after March 31, 2025.

Exploitation has been disrupted for years in a country crippled by disputes over mining rights, suspicions of corruption, and a brutally lacking infrastructure and scale of investments to be made in a landlocked area.

On 10 March, Mamadi Doumbouya, the head of the Guinean junta, ordered the closure of all activities at the Simandou site, demanding that Guinean interests be “protected” by operators.

Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Geology, Moussa Magsouba, told RTG that the state of Guinea had “negotiated” with mining companies. “Previously, we had 0%, so 0 francs. We negotiated and we were able to get 15% of rails, ports, mines,” he said.

The entire project represents several thousand direct jobs.

According to experts, Guinea may have the world’s largest untapped reserves of high-grade iron among other important natural and mineral resources (bauxite, gold, diamonds, hydrological capital), but that doesn’t stop the country from getting too bad. Huh.

However, Simandou also suffers from corruption in Guinea considered old.

Colonel Daumbouya, who was sworn in as President on 1 October, has made the fight against corruption one of his major battles.

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