Simandou aerial shot



As steelmakers race to reduce their carbon emissions, demand is growing for higher-grade, lower-impurity iron ore – the essential feedstock for steel production.

Simandou is home to the last known, largest and richest untapped high-grade iron ore deposit in the world.

The premium grade of Simandou iron ore will be a vital part of the energy transition, and broadens our global portfolio of iron ore products, complementing our existing, long-term iron ore production in Australia’s Pilbara region and in Canada.

Iron ore

Iron ore is the primary raw material used to make steel. Steel is strong, long-lasting and cost-efficient – making it perfect for everything from cars and fridges to wind turbines and skyscrapers.

Simandou’s high-grade deposit will be a sought-after resource for the energy transition, as steelmakers work ever faster to produce green steel.

Rio Tinto Simfer

We are the majority shareholder and managing partner of Rio Tinto Simfer (SIMFER S.A.) – a joint venture between Rio Tinto, Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH), and the Government of the Republic of Guinea. Simandou’s mining concession is divided into 4 blocks. Rio Tinto Simfer will develop blocks 3 and 4, known as the Simandou project.

We are also working with the Government of Guinea and Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS), developers of blocks 1 and 2 of the Simandou mining concession, to co-develop the infrastructure needed to export mined iron ore from the far southeast of the country to Guinea’s maritime borders and beyond.

Next steps

In March 2023, negotiations towards the co-development of project infrastructure progressed with the signing of a shareholder agreement, subject to certain conditions and the resolution of identified outstanding issues, between Rio Tinto joint venture Simfer, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) and the Government of Guinea4. The agreement establishes the governance and operations model for la Compagnie du TransGuinéen, and is another step towards securing the cost estimates, schedule, fiscal regime and regulatory authority approvals necessary to progress the co-development of rail and port facilities. We have also progressed upgrade works to camp facilities and other early works.

This paves the way to progress the definitive joint venture arrangements and secure necessary financing to construct more than 600 kilometres of rail infrastructure spanning the length of the country, as well as port infrastructure on the coast of the Forécariah prefecture in Guinea. Rio Tinto Simfer, WCS and the Government of the Republic of Guinea are committed to co-developing the rail and port infrastructure in line with internationally recognised environmental, social and governance standards.

Ownership of the new infrastructure joint-venture company will be split between development partners, Simfer Jersey Ltd and WCS, each at 42.5% equity share, with the Government of the Republic of Guinea taking a 15% free carry equity stake.

The Rio Tinto Simfer joint venture comprises Simfer S.A., which develops the mine and in which the Government of Guinea holds 15% and Simfer Jersey Limited holds 85%. In turn, Simfer Jersey Limited, which co-develops the infrastructure with WCS, is owned by Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH) (47%) and Rio Tinto (53%). CIOH is currently owned by Chinalco (75%), Baowu (20%), China Rail Construction Corporation (CRCC) (2.5%) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) (2.5%).

The incorporation of InfraCo with our partners underscores the importance of the Simandou resource in today's decarbonising world and its development will complement Rio Tinto's strong iron ore portfolio. 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.”

- Bold Baatar, Rio Tinto’s Executive Committee member in charge of the Simandou project and Chief Executive, Copper


4 This followed notification to Rio Tinto and the Government of Guinea, of Baowu’s earlier entry into a term sheet agreement with WCS in respect of an investment into WCS InfraCo and WCS MineCo (blocks 1 and 2) – an agreement welcomed by Rio Tinto. Baowu Resources Co. is a member of China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Limited.

Community, Conakry, Simandou, Guinea

Working with our communities

By its very nature, mining and processing disturbs the environment and can impact surrounding communities. Yet it delivers significant economic and social benefits, yielding materials needed for the energy transition and demands of increasing urbanisation. It also creates local employment; small business development; tax and royalty streams; and training, skills, and community development.

Our teams – ranging from archaeologists and economic development experts to human rights specialists and our operational leaders – work closely with communities to understand how our work affects their lives, their culture and their heritage. By doing so, we can respond to community concerns, optimise benefits and work to minimise negative impacts.

Throughout the history of our involvement in the Simandou project, we have maintained regular community consultation forums and sessions designed to maintain dialogue with local communities by addressing questions, concerns and additional opportunities to provide support. This work continues actively as we progress through to the forthcoming phases of construction and operation.

During our Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), completed in 2012 and currently under review, we consulted more than 10,000 people. To deliver on our commitment to community development, we then made US$500,000 annual contributions to community development throughout the project’s care and maintenance period from 2016 to 2020.

Initiatives this funding has supported have included learning and basic literacy training for local tradesmen (carpenters, masons), support for agricultural and livestock projects, market gardening cooperative development, as well as the modern butchery initiative to encourage procurement from local livestock herders and meat producers.

With a grant of US$2 million over three years, we are also continuing to invest in vocational training to help establish women-led businesses in the community.

Contact Simandou

Rio Tinto Simfer

Immeuble Camayenne
Corniche Nord
Commune Dixinn
BP848, Conakry
Republic of Guinea

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