Guinea halts Simandou iron ore project, mulls talks with new partners


Guinea’s mines minister has ordered all work associated to the Simandou iron ore mine venture to be halted after the 2 corporations concerned missed an prolonged deadline to agree on a three way partnership, a letter seen by Reuters confirmed on Monday.

Rio Tinto’s Guinea subsidiary Simfer SA and Chinese-backed consortium Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) have proven a “lack of willingness” to work on a partnership, Mines Minister Moussa Magassouba stated in a July 3 letter addressed to each corporations.

In a later assertion, the federal government stated it was open to discussions with new partners within the bold venture that goals to extract iron ore from Guinea’s distant hinterland to a port a whole bunch of kilometers away, however which has been dogged by delays in recent times.

“Despite the numerous concessions the Guinean State has been sort sufficient to make, it’s clear the obstruction is being maintained by each your corporations, to the detriment of the pursuits of the venture,” Magassouba wrote.

Magassouba stated the halt would apply throughout the nation, efficient from 8:00 a.m. native time (0800 GMT) on Monday.

Rio Tinto declined to touch upon the most recent stoppage and WCS didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Guinea’s ruling junta has suspended development of the mine and associated infrastructure as soon as earlier than, in March, leading to Rio and WCS signing a framework settlement that month beneath which they might “co-develop” infrastructure for the mine, together with a 670-km railway and a port.

The authorities gave the businesses 14 days on June 19 to agree a three way partnership, itself an extension of a earlier deadline.Read full storyRead full story

The March framework settlement assured the state 15% of the Simandou iron ore in addition to a free and non-dilutable 15% stake within the railway and port three way partnership, the federal government has stated.

The mines minister stated Rio and WCS had been stalling over the phrases of the federal government’s stake within the three way partnership, blaming the businesses for “inertia” on this problem.

Rio Tinto has held rights to Simandou since 1997. Through Rio Tinto Simfer, it owns a forty five.05% stake within the southern half, Blocks 3 and 4, of the deposit, with Aluminium Corp of China (Chinalco) holding 39.95% and Guinea’s authorities the remaining 15%.

WCS holds Blocks 1 and a pair of of Simandou.- Reuters

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