Rio Tinto’s (RIO +1.8%) director of copper said the company is in talks with Guinea’s military junta over the country’s move to halt work on the Simandou iron ore deposit, Dow Jones reports.
“We’re in discussion with the government of Guinea and support their view that co-investment and development of rail and port infrastructure is the best way to develop Simandou projects,” said Rio’s Bold Baatar said, after arriving Tuesday at the Guinean capital Conakry to hold talks with the junta, whose leader last week ordered the work stoppage at Simandou.
Simandou is the largest known deposit of its kind, holding more than 2B metric tons of high-grade ore, but its development has been slowed by legal fights and the cost of infrastructure.
Rio owns a ~45% stake in Blocks 3 and 4 of Simandou, while Aluminum Corp. of China holds nearly 40% and Guinea’s government has 15%; Blocks 1 and 2 are controlled by a Chinese-backed consortium.
Rio Tinto recently reported its highest-ever annual profits in FY 2021 and paid out record total dividends to shareholders.