About $50bn in mining investment expected in Guinea by 2025

About $50bn in mining investment expected in Guinea by 2025

The Simandou mountains in Guinea hold some of the richest iron ore deposits in the world and has the potential to transform the fortunes of the impoverished West African nation.

Guinea, one of the main producers of bauxite, the raw material used in aluminum production, expects to attract $50 billion of investment into its mining sector in the next ten years, the country's minister of mines said Thursday.

The West African country has long seen mining as having potential to deliver much needed income. However some of the nation's resources that are considered among the world’s largest, such as the Simandou iron ore deposit, have not been turned into producing mines yet because of both financial and political reasons.

Moving forward with the Simandou South iron project could double Guinea's current GDP, Mines minister Kerfalla Yansane was quoted as saying by Reuters. But first production from Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON:RIO) massive $20 billion project is not expected until 2019 at the earliest.

The miner has already spent over $3 billion actively building the project. At full production the mine would export up to 95 million tonnes of iron ore per year – that's about a third of the firm's total capacity at the moment.

Simandou North up for grabs

In April the West African nation took back the northern half of the Simandou deposit after concluding that BSG Resources (BSGR), the mining arm of Israeli tycoon Beny Steinmetz’s empire, and Vale's joint-venture partner, obtained the concession through corrupt practices.

Guinea’s government is expected to release tender documents covering the area within the next two to three months.

Rio Tinto has said that the company was unlikely to take part in the bidding process. Glencore (LON:GLEN) has also denied reports that it had expressed an interest to develop the coveted deposit.

Potential investors may be deterred, however, by extremely iron ore prices and by a threat from BSGR that it will sue any investor in its former license.

Image from archives.