AFRICANGLOBE – Anglo-Australian miner, Rio Tinto says it is in the final stages of sealing a $20 billion deal on the Simandou mine iron ore deposits in Guinea – the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposit in West Africa.
The project which will see the world’s third-largest miner invest billions of Dollars in Guinea’s resurging economy include the development a deep-water port, the establishment of fibre optic & wireless communications, the construction of more than 1,000km new and upgraded roads as well as a railway to carry iron ore from the Simandou mountain range.
Rio’s chief executive, Sam Walsh noted that the final stages of the deal involves formalising the partnership between the company, Chinese aluminium company Chalco, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the government of Guinea on the Simandou project, a process expected to be completed by the end of May.
Once this is done, Rio will begin construction to ensure that production gets underway by the end of 2020. At the long run, the project could turn Guinea into a major exporter of iron ore.
According to Walsh, the Simandou project which holds about 2.25 billion tonnes of iron ore resources has the capacity to create Africa’s biggest-ever infrastructure venture and also boost Guinea’s annual revenue by $1.2 billion through income tax and royalty payments.
The chief executive added that the deposit will also contribute about $7.6 billion to the Guinean economy – 22 times the $ 340 million received in international aid by the West Africa country in 2012.
By: Oluwabusayo Sotunde