Rio Tinto’s Guinea subsidiary has formed a railway and port joint venture with Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) and the military junta government, paving the way for work to resume on the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore project, something that will have major implications for the global capesize trading map.
WCS and Rio’s subsidiary Simfer Jersey Limited each hold 42.5% of the new company, with the government given a 15% stake.
The junta, which swept to power last year, halted all work on the mining project early this month, demanding a greater stake in the business.
“The Republic of Guinea reassures the partners, and the world of its firm will to develop the Simandou project in the best interests of the people of Guinea, and all partners,” said Djiba Diakité, chairman of the government’s committee on Simandou.
A 600 km rail line will be built to a port in Forecariah district, about 80 km south of the capital, Conakry.
Simandou iron ore exports will potentially work out at 68 capesize voyages a year, according to estimates by Splash.
Winning Shipping has been growing its cape fleet dramatically in recent years, and is principally engaged on the growing commodity ties between West Africa and China.