New joint-venture incorporated to unlock Simandou iron ore blocks development in Guinea

Last week, Rio Tinto announced the incorporation of the TransGuinean joint-venture (Compagnie du TransGuinéen, in French) that will develop and operate new critical rail and port infrastructure in Guinea.

An International Partnership

The company is a partnership between the Government of Guinea (15%), Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS, 42.5%), and Rio Tinto Simfer (42.5%). Its incorporation notably follows the signing of a Framework Agreement in March 2022 to facilitate investment decisions for the co-financing and co-development of the infrastructure required to develop the giant Simandou iron ore project.

WCS is itself a consortium of Singaporean company Winning International Group (45%), Weiqiao Aluminium (part of the China Hongqiao Group, 35%) and United Mining Suppliers International (20%).

On the other hand, the Simfer joint venture comprises Simfer S.A., the holder of Simandou South Blocks 3 & 4, which is owned by the Government of Guinea (15%) and Simfer Jersey Ltd (85%). In turn, Simfer Jersey Ltd is a joint venture between the Rio Tinto Group (53%) and Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH, 47%) – a Chinalco-led joint venture of leading Chinese state-owned companies.

A multi-billion dollars investment programme

The TransGuinean will co-develop a 650km rail corridor and ports infrastructure in the in the Forécariah prefecture to unlock reserves at the four Simandou iron ore blocks. WCS is holder of blocks 1-2 while Rio Tinto Simfer is holder of blocks 3-4.

“Following the incorporation of the joint venture, the parties will now work on next steps including shareholding agreement, finalising cost estimates and funding, and securing all necessary approvals and other permits and agreements required to progress the co-development of infrastructures,” Rio Tinto said in a statement.

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