Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group confirmed on Monday it had submitted a bid to develop Simandou iron ore blocks in Guinea. Fortescue and Guinea’s biggest bauxite exporter SMB-Winning are the last two companies trying to get the rights to develop the two blocks, according to Reuters.
“Following the release of information at a public meeting held in Guinea last week, Fortescue confirms that it is participating in the tender for Simandou Blocks 1 and 2,” Fortescue Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
Blocks 1 and 2 became available after billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s BSG Resources (BSGR) said it would walk away from the Simandou project, but retain the right to mine the smaller Zogota deposit.
Simfer S.A. is the holder of the Simandou mining blocks 3 and 4. Simfer is a joint-venture ultimately owned by the government of Guinea, 15%, Rio Tinto, 45.05%, and a consortium of Chinese State-owned enterprises lead by Chinalco, 39.5%.
The Simandou Project is an iron ore exploration and mining project located toward the southern end of the 110-kilometer-long Simandou mountain range, 550 kilometers southeast of Guinea’s capital city Conakry. It is one of the largest undeveloped high-grade iron ore deposits in the world, it is to be a conventional open-pit mine with an expected capacity of 100 million metric tons of iron ore per year.