Commodities, Exploration/Development, Iron ore, News

Simandou surges forward

The Simandou iron ore project in Guinea has been given a significant funding boost with the backing of Rio Tinto.

Rio, which forms part of the Simfer joint venture that owns Simandou south blocks 3 and 4, has loaned $US100 million ($156 million) to the project, which will go towards building the railways and ports for the project.

In particular, the funds are expected to support ongoing studies for the infrastructure until a final feasibility study is conducted and funding agreement secured.

Acting general director of Rio Tinto in Guinea Samuel Gahigi said the funding marks a significant step forward for the development of the Simandou project.

“We are proud of the progress we have made together over the past six months: completing enabling works, constructing new camps, recruiting a skilled workforce and, more recently, starting permanent construction works,” Gahigi said in a LinkedIn post.

“Through this agreement, Rio Tinto will provide $100m of interim funding to WCS (Winning Consortium Simandou) to finance its construction programme, demonstrating our total commitment to the Simandou project – and to our partners.

“Guinea recently entered the group of middle-income countries. It is a country with incredible potential: its human potential, agricultural potential thanks to its rainfall, and of course the potential that lies within the Simandou mountain range.

“We are honoured to be part in this new chapter of Guinea’s history and we are determined to deliver the Simandou project for the people of Guinea.”

The Simandou project has long been considered one of the largest iron ore projects globally, with the potential to produce more than 100 million tonnes per year.

Rio Tinto was first granted a Simandou exploration licence in 1986. The project’s development has since been plagued with obstacles, with political complexities, cost concerns and mining rights disputes presenting major roadblocks.

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