Leaders from the Republic of Guinea, Rio Tinto, and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to discuss the development of the Simandou iron ore mining project located in the south east of Guinea, W Africa.

At the heart of the discussion was the current focus on developing an investment framework for the financing, construction and operation of the transport link needed for the project. The importance of this proposed link, which would be open to other users and would encourage broad-based economic development in Guinea, was underlined by all attendees. Present at the meeting were President Conde, Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto and Jin-Yong Cai, Executive VP and CEO of IFC. Mr Walsh and Mr Cai also spoke for the Aluminium Corporation of China Ltd (CHALCO) the project’s fourth partner.

The concession licence-holder and project company is Simfer SA, which is currently owned 50.35% by Rio Tinto, 44.65% by Chalco and 5% by IFC. The Republic of Guinea will have the right to take a stake of up to 35% in Simfer SA (the mine) and a 51% stake in a Special Purpose Vehicle to own the Project Infrastructure (rail & port).

Simandou will be the largest integrated iron ore mine and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa, producing 95Mt/y at full production. The group hope it will have the potential to transform the Guinean economy and transport infrastructure by creating a Trans-Guinean railway of approximately 670km to transport the ore from the mining concession to the Guinean coast where a new deep-water port south of Conakry in the Forécariah prefecture is to be built.