Rio Tinto and government of Guinea form joint venture to advance Simandou iron ore project
Rio Tinto announced that it has formed a joint venture with the government of the Republic of Guinea, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) to create the La Compagnie du TransGuinéen (The TransGuinean Company) to further progress plans to co-develop the multi-purpose and multi-user infrastructure for the Simandou iron ore project.
The joint venture will develop necessary infrastructure to develop the Simandou iron project, the largest untapped iron ore deposit in the world.
“The joint venture incorporation is a significant milestone in implementation of the framework agreement signed among the parties on March 25, 2022. It has been fully registered and established in Guinea and is intended, following negotiation of definitive tripartite entity arrangements, the company will be the central structure for the co-development of the rail and the port components of the Simandou iron ore development project,” Rio Tinto said in a statement.
Following the incorporation of the joint venture, the parties will now work on next steps including shareholding agreement, finalizing cost estimates and funding, and securing all necessary approvals and other permits and agreements required to progress the co-development of infrastructures.
WCS and Rio Tinto Simfer are committed to co-develop the rail and port infrastructures in line with internationally recognized environmental, social and governance standards. This milestone paves the way to progress the shareholder agreement, and secure necessary financing to construct a strategic corridor with more than 600 km of rail infrastructures extending from south to south-west of the Republic of Guinea, as well as port infrastructure in the Forécariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea.
The infrastructure constitutes the backbone of the Simandou project, that presents a significant opportunity for the economic growth of the Republic of Guinea, in addition to the mining activities it will support.
“We are extremely grateful to our joint venture partners, the Guinean government and Rio Tinto Simfer for the spirit of cooperation they have shown in achieving this major milestone,” Sun Xiushun, Chairman of the Winning Consortium said. “The creation of La Compagnie du TransGuinéen is a positive step and builds a solid foundation for the realisation of the Simandou project. More importantly, it shows that WCS respects its commitments in a concrete way: to build and develop Guinea, and to significantly contribute to strengthening the country’s economy. WCS welcomes today's signing and thanks all its partners on the ground, particularly our Guinean employees and surrounding communities without whom all this would not have been possible."
“The incorporation of La Compagnie du TransGuinéen with our partners underscores the importance of the Simandou resource in today's decarbonizing world, and its development will complement Rio Tinto's strong iron ore portfolio,” Rio Tinto Executive Committee member in charge of the Simandou project and Copper Chief Executive Bold Baatar said. “It is also a very important moment for Guinea and for Guineans, for whom the project's southern infrastructure corridor has the potential to bring significant benefits for regional economic development by leveraging international project and ESG standards. We are most grateful to the government of Guinea and WCS for their collaboration and look forward to making the promise of Simandou a reality.”