Guinea Moves Forward on Rio Tinto’s $10 Billion Iron Ore Project

The government of Guinea, home to Africa’s largest iron ore deposit, said it’s making progress on an agreement to share investment in the $10 billion project with Rio Tinto Group.

“The government mobilized necessary means and expertise to be able to hold its commitments and move forward on the investment,” government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said today in an emailed response to questions.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest mining company, continues to work on the project, it said yesterday. The company slowed progress and cut staff by 90 percent as it awaits a more stable and secure regulatory framework, Reuters said March 11, citing unidentified government sources.

“The project is not frozen,” Camara said today. “Simandou is a highly strategic project for the future of the Guineans, as it has to allow populations to take advantage finally of the exploitation of their natural resources,” he said, without giving more details.

Simandou, which Rio has described as the world’s biggest undeveloped iron ore deposit, is scheduled to start production in 2015. The company in June allocated $501 million to build a rail and port at the project.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ougna Camara in Conakry at ocamara@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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