Dry Cargo

Deal reached to move Guinea’s giant iron ore project ahead

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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