Guinea's ruling junta has reached an agreement with Rio Tinto and a Chinese-backed consortium to resume activities at the huge Simandou iron ore deposit, the mines minister said, after resolving infrastructure disputes.
Simandou holds more 4 billion tonnes of ore according to Guinea's government, making it the largest known deposit of its kind, but despite the ore being very high-grade, Simandou remains untapped decades after its discovery, largely due to legal disputes and political instability.
Guinea's transitional authorities said this month that the site's development would be halted as they sought clarification on how Guinea's interests would be preserved. M1L2N2VE0ES
The government's move was seen as a way to put pressure on Rio and Winning Consortium Simandou to find a way to collaborate on the costly infrastructure needed to transport ore from Simandou to the port.
Mines Minister Moussa Magassouba said on state television late on Saturday that a framework agreement had been signed between the government and companies involved in the project: Rio Tinto, the Aluminium Corp of China (Chinalco) and the Chinese-backed SMB-Winning consortium.