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Guinea Approves Simandou Iron Ore Project Deal

Landmark Agreement Sets Stage for World's Largest Iron Ore Mine

by Ikeoluwa Ogungbangbe
Simandou iron ore project

In a significant development for Guinea’s ambitious Simandou iron ore project, lawmakers in the country have approved a joint development deal. This crucial agreement involves the junta-led government of Guinea, global mining giant Rio Tinto, and the consortium known as Winning Consortium Simandou. The approval marks a significant milestone in the project’s journey towards becoming the world’s largest and highest-grade new iron ore mine.

Simandou has garnered international attention and undergone extensive negotiations, primarily due to its intricate ownership structure, legal disputes causing delays, political instability in Guinea, and construction challenges. However, the recent approval by the National Transition Council, which functions as the country’s interim parliament, has provided a crucial boost to the project.

Council spokesperson Mory Dounoh announced the approval following the vote, detailing the key aspects of the agreement. This milestone signifies a significant step forward for the Simandou iron ore project, which now envisions the completion of construction by the end of 2024.

Rio Tinto, a prominent player in the global mining industry, holds ownership of two out of four Simandou mining blocks. These holdings are part of Rio Tinto’s Simfer joint venture, in collaboration with China’s Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH) and the government of Guinea. Under this joint venture, Rio Tinto commands a 53% stake, while CIOH holds the remaining shares.

The remaining two mining blocks are under the development purview of Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS). WCS comprises Winning International Group, a Singapore-based conglomerate, Weiqiao Aluminium (a division of the China Hongqiao Group), and United Mining Suppliers.

The Simandou iron ore project holds tremendous promise, not only as a substantial contributor to Guinea’s economy but also as a significant player in the global iron ore market. The project’s potential to become the world’s largest and highest-grade new iron ore mine has generated substantial interest and investment.

With the recent parliamentary approval, the project can move forward with renewed momentum, working towards its goal of transforming Guinea into a key player in the global iron ore industry. As construction progresses and timelines are met, the Simandou project is poised to make a lasting impact on both the local and international fronts, fostering economic growth and stability in Guinea while meeting the global demand for iron ore.

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