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Guinea: Rio Tinto Plans Large Increase in Iron-Ore Investment

Boakai Fofana

Monrovia — Rio Tinto has announced plans to invest $170 million in its mining Simandou project in the iron-ore-rich region in south-east Guinea.

A leading international mining group based in the United Kingdom, the company has already invested $650 million in exploration and infrastructure development in the project.  Guinea, which has some of the world’s largest bauxite reserves, has been working to diversify by increasing production of gold and diamonds, as well as iron ore.

“Simandou will be the largest integrated infrastructure and iron ore project developed in Africa to date,” Sam Walsh, Rio Tinto’s director of iron-ore extraction, said in a statement. Last week, the company signed a joint venture agreement worth U.S $1.35 billion with a Chinese company, Aluminum Corp of China, to enhance work on the project.

“Rio Tinto welcomes a recent acknowledgement from the Prime Minister of Guinea that, in order to make the project economic, it may consider an export route through Liberia,” the company said in a statement.

“However, the current plan anticipates the construction of a mine at Simandou with an annual capacity of 95 million tonnes, a 650-kilometre dedicated industrial railroad passing through 21 km of tunnels traversing Guinea to the coast, a rail car-dumping facility and a four-berth wharf located 11 kilometres offshore from Matakang. ”

Liberia’s ports and railroads are currently being rehabilitated by mining sector investors.  Acelor Mittal is rehabilitating the railroad between the port of Buchanan and mining sites in Yekepa in northeastern Nimba County, along the border with Guinea.   Image: Rio Tinto

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