Rio Tinto, its subsidiary Simfer S.A., and the Government of Guinea signed a Settlement Agreement in Conakry, Guinea, that secures Rio Tinto’s mining title in Guinea and paves the way for first shipment of iron ore by mid-2015. Simfer will, however, make every reasonable effort to achieve first production by the end of 2014. This agreement relates to the southern concession of Simandou, known as blocks 3 and 4, which is the location of Rio Tinto’s declared iron ore resources in Guinea.

In recognition of the resolution of all outstanding issues and finalization of new investment agreement terms, Simfer will pay US$700 million to the Guinean Public Treasury upon promulgation of Presidential Decrees granting its mining concession and the approval of the proposed Chalco and Rio Tinto Simandou joint venture. The parties have agreed the terms of the Settlement Agreement will not be affected by any changes introduced by the Government of Guinea as a result of its current review of the Mining Code or any future reviews.

“This agreement gives us the certainty we need to allow us to invest and move forward quickly so we can bring this great resource into production and deliver its benefits to the Guinean people and Simfer stakeholders,” said Sam Walsh, chief executive, Rio Tinto Iron Ore. “This is a major project and a significant undertaking and we expect a total investment of more than $10 billion to bring the mine and associated infrastructure on stream.”