The world needs Guinea’s massive Simandou iron ore deposit to be developed, Rio Tinto’s chief executive said on Thursday, despite uncertainty in Guinea after last month’s coup.
“There is, of course, a bit of uncertainty about Guinea at this point in time, but fundamentally nothing has changed; namely, that there is a need for the world to develop Simandou,” Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said.
Simandou “has to be done in a very careful way, from all sorts of ESG angles, not least biodiversity,” Stausholm added, speaking at an FT mining conference.
TIMELINE: The battle for Simandou
Simandou, in Guinea’s remote, mountainous and forested southeastern corner, has lain undeveloped for decades because of the complexity and expense of transporting ore to the coast.
Asked whether Rio Tinto would be a shareholder in the infrastructure being built to get iron ore from Simandou to the global market, Stausholm said he sees the development as one integrated project.
“We need to take a shared responsibility that things are being done in a responsible way, always,” he said.
(By Helen Reid and Clara Denina; Editing by David Goodman and Steve Orlofsky)