Tag Archives: Rio Tinto

Milestone Cat 24 Motor Grader set for Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations

Twenty-seven years after introducing the Cat® 24 Motor Grader to the mining market, Caterpillar has celebrated the production of its 1,000th unit.

At a ceremony held on September 22, 2022, Caterpillar executives and motor grader production team members gathered in Decatur, Illinois, to celebrate the production and sale of this milestone machine. The grader, destined for Australia, was sold by Cat dealer, WesTrac Pty Ltd, to Rio Tinto’s Pilbara Operations in Western Australia.

During the event, Caterpillar team members heard from both WesTrac and Rio Tinto Iron Ore representatives, through videotaped comments. The milestone machine includes a special 1,000th unit commemorative plate.

In 1995, Caterpillar introduced the Cat 24 Motor Grader specifically designed to build and maintain haul roads at mining sites with ultra-class haul trucks. Now in its third generation, the Cat 24 offers 399-518 kW of power, weighs 61,950 kg, comes with a 7.3 m moldboard – with an 8.5 m moldboard option – and technology as standard to work wide haul roads efficiently, according to the OEM.

Sam Vedhakumar Manoharan, Caterpillar’s Vice President of Product Management, Earthmoving, said: “The Cat 24 Motor Grader was and continues to be a game changer for maintenance efficiency of the wide haul roads necessary for ultra-class trucks. We thank the many global mining operations and dedicated Cat dealers around the world for their loyalty to the Cat 24 grader.”

Today’s Cat 24 Motor Grader features more than 30% higher power, 13% more weight and a longer rebuild life than previous generations. It will also soon feature a high-performance circle design for further improved reliability.

Stephen Jones, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Managing Director of Planning, Integration and Assets, said: “For years, we have used Cat 24 Motor Graders to maintain our haul roads for our ultra-class trucks. The Cat 24 series offers a great combination of power, weight and blade width to support road maintenance coverage for our large mining fleet. We are honoured to receive the commemorative 1,000th 24 Motor Grader, and this represents the third generation we’ve used across our Pilbara mining operations.”

Rio Tinto funds initial underground development at Kennecott copper ops

Rio Tinto has approved a $55 million investment in development capital to start underground mining and expand production at its Kennecott copper operations in Utah, USA.

Underground mining will initially focus on an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS), which will deliver a total of around 30,000 t of additional high-quality mined copper through the period to 2027 alongside open-pit operations, Rio says. The first ore is expected to be produced in early 2023, with full production in the second half of the year. It will be processed through the existing facilities at Kennecott, one of only two operating copper smelters in the US.

Kennecott holds the potential for significant and attractive underground development. The LCS is the first step towards this, with a mineral resource of 7.5 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.84 g/t Au, 11.26 g/t Ag and 0.015% Mo identified based on drilling and a probable reserve of 1.7 Mt at 1.9% Cu, 0.71 g/t Au, 10.07 g/t Ag and 0.044% Mo.

Underground battery-electric vehicles are currently being trialled at Kennecott to improve employee health and safety, increase productivity and reduce carbon emissions from future underground mining fleets. A battery-electric haul truck and loader supplied by Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions – a Sandvik LH518B 18 t battery-electric LHD and a Sandvik Z50 50 t battery-electric haul truck – are being used to evaluate performance and suitability as part of underground development work.

Rio Tinto Copper Chief Executive, Bold Baatar, said: “This investment will allow us to quickly bring additional volumes of high-quality copper to the market and build our knowledge and capabilities as we evaluate larger scale underground mining at Kennecott. We are progressing a range of options for a significant resource that is yet to be developed at Kennecott, which could extend our supply of copper and other critical materials needed for electric vehicles and renewable power technologies.

“Trialling underground battery-electric vehicles is an exciting step in our work to create a safer workplace for our employees, increase the productivity of the mine and reduce emissions from our operations. We look forward to seeing their potential for deployment.”

Existing undergound infrastructure is currently being extended to enable early access to the next underground resource and undertake characterisation studies. A feasibility study to inform decisions on the next phase of underground production is expected to be completed in 2023. This will be one of several potential stages currently being investigated.

Feasibility studies are also being progressed to extend open-pit mining at Kennecott beyond 2032.

Caterpillar surpasses 5 billion tonnes of material autonomously hauled

Roughly nine months after reaching the 4-billion-tonne (4.4-billion-ton) autonomously hauled milestone, trucks equipped with Cat® MineStar™ Command for hauling have now moved over 5 billion tonnes (5.5 billion tons), the OEM says.

Cat autonomous trucks are on pace to eclipse previous record totals of materials hauled in a calendar year, projected to be more than 1.4 billion tonnes (1.57 billion tons) in 2022.

Currently, more than 550 mining trucks are equipped with Command for hauling, operating across three continents. Over the last nine years, trucks equipped with Command for hauling have journeyed nearly the average distance between the Earth and Mars with zero loss-time injuries, according to the mining OEM.

Denise Johnson, Group President of Caterpillar Resource Industries, said: “In 2013, we placed our first fleets of autonomous trucks in Western Australia at FMG Solomon and BHP Jimblebar. Since that time, trucks using Command for hauling have safely travelled nearly 200 million km, more than twice the experience in autonomous operations of any automobile manufacturer. Caterpillar has grown the number of autonomous trucks in operation by 40% in the past two years.

“We believe that automation is one of many keys to implement technology that unlocks the value miners need when it comes to the energy transition toward more sustainable operations.”

One of the company’s recent contract wins on the automation front relates to BHP’s majority-owned Escondida mine, in Chile.

Marc Cameron, Vice President of Caterpillar Resource Industries, said of this agreement: “The new Cat 798 AC electric drive trucks replacing BHP’s entire haul truck fleet at the Escondida mine will feature technologies that advance the site’s key initiatives, including autonomy and decarbonisation. The agreement allows Escondida…to accelerate the implementation of its autonomy plans by transitioning the fleet with autonomous haulage system (AHS) technology.”

Caterpillar has enabled 13 customers at 23 different locations to succeed with full site autonomous haulage solutions. Starting with iron ore at Solomon (Fortescue Metals Group) and Jimblebar (BHP), its solutions now manage oil sands, copper, gold, coal, lithium and phosphate. Spanning the 190- to 370-t class sizes, the Cat 789D, 793D, 793F, 797F, and electric drive 794 AC and 798 AC mining trucks are capable of fully autonomous operation. Retrofit kits allow miners to expand Command for hauling to existing Cat mining trucks.

Since 2019, Caterpillar says it has won eight of nine greenfield autonomy sites on offer.

Sean McGinnis, Vice President and General Manager for Cat Mining, said: “In 2023, we will expand Command for hauling to the 139-t truck class at ioneer Ltd’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron mine. This is the first greenfield project in North America to use an AHS. We are now seeing a shift toward autonomy requested on new Cat trucks. Whereas large mines with fleet sizes of more than 70 trucks were the early adopters of the technology, we are seeing economic viability for autonomy at smaller mines with a fleet of less than 15 trucks.”

Caterpillar says it continuously monitors the industry for opportunities to broaden the use of automation to help drive safety and efficiency.

Beyond expansion of Command for hauling to the Cat 785 for ioneer, Caterpillar sees potential for Cat autonomy in quarry and aggregates. Additionally, Caterpillar’s AHS technology has been deployed on the Cat 789D autonomous water truck (AWT) operating at Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine in Australia, the world’s first AWT, for automated watering of haul roads.

Rio Tinto and Shougang Group collaborating on low-carbon steelmaking solutions

Rio Tinto and Shougang Group, one of the world’s top 10 steel producers, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote research, design and implementation of low-carbon solutions for the steel value chain.

The MoU’s focus areas include low-carbon sintering technology, blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) optimisation, and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).

This partnership with Shougang underlines Rio Tinto’s strategic commitment to partner with customers on steel decarbonisation pathways and to invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in steelmaking carbon intensity, it said.

Initial efforts will be focused on, but not limited to, BF slag heat recovery, BOF slag utilisation, CCU and low-carbon sintering technology.

The MoU builds on the nearly 30-year relationship between Rio Tinto and Shougang as trade and technical partners. The two companies will work together, leveraging their respective strengths in research and development, technologies, processes, equipment, logistics and industry coordination to support their shared objectives of limiting the impacts of global climate change and reducing carbon emissions, Rio said.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios (pictured), said: “Steel is a vital material for economic growth and low-carbon infrastructure. At Rio Tinto, we want to play a strong role as an industry partner to support the decarbonisation of steel. We are delighted to be able to extend our partnership with Shougang to jointly work towards our shared vision of a ‘greener’ steel value chain.”

Wang Jianwei, Vice President of Shougang Group, added: “Green and low-carbon transition and upgrading is the only way for high-quality and sustainable development of the steel industry. The cooperation between Shougang Group and Rio Tinto Group to develop low-carbon generic technologies for the steel sector and explore decarbonisation solutions is a positive move for both sides to cooperate and promote low-carbon technology innovation.”

Stantec to deliver $16 million feasibility study on Resolution Copper Mine

Stantec says it has been selected by Resolution Copper Mining LLC to deliver a $16 million feasibility study providing engineering and technical services for the Resolution Copper mine in Superior, Arizona.

The proposed underground mine, a joint venture between Rio Tinto (55%) and BHP (45%), has the potential to be one of the largest producers of copper in North America – supplying up to 25% of US copper demand each year.

Stantec has been a lead underground mining and infrastructure consultant on the Resolution project since early 2019. It will assist the company by providing engineering and execution planning services for the mine.

Mario Finis, Executive Vice President for Stantec’s Energy & Resources business, said: “Resolution Copper is mining a critical resource needed for the energy transition. We are proud to support our client in this important endeavour with a strong commitment to sustainable mining throughout the entire life cycle of the project.”

Stantec’s engineering services on this project include power distribution, material handling, shafts and hoisting systems, dewatering/pumping, communications and more. Additionally, Stantec is evaluating the use of battery-electric vehicles to help the mine meet its goal of zero carbon emissions.

To date, more than $2 billion has been spent to develop and permit the project, including reclamation of the historic Magma Copper Mine site, sinking a second shaft to mining depth, rehabilitating an existing shaft and deepening to mining depth, extensive drilling and orebody testing, and the federal approval and public engagement process.

Stantec says its Mining, Minerals, and Metals team is helping clients achieve net zero mining – through its holistic service offering, Sustainable Mining by Design™, which aids companies to meet their environmental, social and governance obligations by finding ways to reduce energy demand and use clean sources of energy.

Rio Tinto and Baowu to invest $2 billion in Western Range iron ore development

Rio Tinto and China Baowu Steel Group Co. Ltd have agreed to enter into a joint venture with respect to the Western Range iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia, investing $2 billion to develop the mine.

Western Range’s annual production capacity of 25 Mt of iron ore will help sustain production of the Pilbara Blend from Rio Tinto’s existing Paraburdoo mining hub. The project includes construction of a primary crusher and an 18 km conveyor system linking it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 with first production anticipated in 2025. The construction phase will support approximately 1,600 jobs with the mine requiring about 800 ongoing operational roles, which are expected to be filled by existing workers transitioning from other sites in the Paraburdoo mining hub.

Rio Tinto’s share of the capital costs are already included in the group’s capital expenditure guidance of around $9-10 billion for each of 2023 and 2024. Both parties will pay their portion of capital costs for the development of the mine, and mine operating costs, plus a nominal ongoing resource contribution fee calculated by reference to Western Range production volumes. There is no upfront consideration being paid by either party.

Rio Tinto and Baowu, which own 54% and 46%, respectively, of the joint venture, have also agreed to enter into an iron ore sales agreement at market prices covering a total of up to 126.5 Mt of iron ore over approximately 13 years. This volume represents Baowu’s 46% interest in the anticipated 275 Mt of production from Western Range through the joint venture.

Rio Tinto has a long history of successfully partnering and investing with customers to develop new mines in the Pilbara. Rio Tinto and Baowu’s partnership in the Pilbara dates back to the 2002 Bao-HI joint venture to develop the Eastern Range deposits in the Hamersley Ranges (Eastern Range) and Western Range, subject to a production cap of 200 Mt. It is now expected the production cap will be sourced entirely from Eastern Range, and this transaction will continue Rio Tinto’s relationship with Baowu through development of Western Range.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “This is a very significant milestone for both Rio Tinto and Baowu, our largest customer globally. We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Baowu for more than four decades, shipping more than 200 Mt of iron ore under our original joint venture, and we are looking forward to extending our partnership at Western Range.

“The development of Western Range represents the commencement of the next significant phase of investment in our iron ore business, helping underpin future production of the Pilbara Blend, the market benchmark.

“At the same time, Rio Tinto and Baowu continue to work together on low-carbon steelmaking research, exploring new methods to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental performance across the steel value chain.”

Baowu Resources Chairman, Shi Bing, said: “The signing of the joint venture agreement for the Western Range project is a significant event in the history of cooperation between Baowu and Rio Tinto. We fully appreciate the persistent efforts of both teams in accomplishing the important achievement. The Bao-HI joint venture has been successfully operating for more than 20 years, leading us to a win-win result, and reaping friendship and trust.

“We hope that the two parties will deepen the mutually beneficial and win-win partnership, continue to carry forward the spirit of sincere cooperation and further expand cooperation in more fields and aspects on the basis of working together to operate the project well.”

Rio Tinto has worked closely with the Traditional Owners on whose country Western Range is situated, the Yinhawangka People, to co-design a Social and Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the project, designed to protect signiticant cultural and heritage values in the area.

The plan, which was agreed with Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation and announced earlier this year, outlines protocols for joint decision-making on environmental matters and mine planning.

Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo hub is comprised of three operating mines, Paraburdoo, Channar and Eastern Range. Western Range contains two deposits, 36W–50W and 55W–66W, which are located within the Hamersley Basin of Western Australia. The deposits’ mineralisation is primarily hosted by the Brockman Iron Formation with additional detrital mineralisation present. The 36W–50W and 55W-66W deposits contain a measured resource of 22 Mt at 59.1% Fe, indicated resource of 102 Mt at 61.5% Fe and an inferred resource of 108 Mt at 61.4% Fe. The 36W–50W deposit contains a proven reserve of 109 Mt at 62.1% Fe and a probable reserve of 56 Mt at 61.7% Fe.

Rio Tinto’s Nuton to test leaching tech at McEwen Copper’s Los Azules project

McEwen Copper’s Los Azules project in Argentina looks like becoming the latest potential leaching asset put under the Nuton® Technologies microscope after the signing of a collaboration agreement between McEwen Copper and Nuton.

The agreement, tied to an oversubscribed $81.85 million offering of McEwen Copper shares, will see Nuton, a Rio Tinto Venture, test its technology for compatibility with Los Azules copper mineralisation.

Nuton, for its part, also contributed $25 million into the funds raised by McEwen Copper.

Rio Tinto’s copper leaching technology venture has been in the headlines of late, signing deals with, among other companies, Arizona Sonoran Copper Company Inc and Lion Copper and Gold, to test out its solutions.

Nuton is aimed at growing Rio Tinto’s copper business. At its core is a portfolio of proprietary copper leach related technologies and capability – a product of almost 30 years of research and development.

Rio says the Nuton technologies offer the potential to economically unlock known low-grade copper sulphide resources, copper bearing waste and tailings, and achieve higher copper recoveries on oxide and transitional material, allowing for a significantly increased copper production outcome, according to Rio. One of the key differentiators of Nuton is the potential to deliver leading environmental performance, including more efficient water usage, lower carbon emissions, and the ability to reclaim mine sites by reprocessing mine waste, Rio claims.

McEwen Copper and Nuton will jointly undertake copper leach testing using Nuton Technologies with samples from Los Azules. McEwen Copper has agreed to grant exclusivity to Nuton for one year in the area of novel, patented or trade secret leaching technology, while it will continue its independent test work and studies using conventional leach technologies.

McEwen Copper Chief Executive, Rob McEwen, said: “We recognise the potential opportunity of using Nuton Technologies to produce copper in greater amounts, more rapidly, and with less impact on the environment and water resources. I trust that our relationship with Nuton and Rio Tinto will accelerate the process of realising the enormous potential of Los Azules.”

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Copper, Bold Baatar said: “This agreement will allow us to evaluate the potential to commercially deploy Rio Tinto’s innovative Nuton Technologies for copper leaching in McEwen Copper’s planned development of Los Azules. Our Nuton Technologies have the capacity to unlock increased copper production for Rio Tinto and our partners, with a low carbon footprint and leading environmental performance.”

The next milestones at Los Azules are the upcoming drilling season from October 2022 to June 2023, the completion of an updated preliminary economic assessment early in the March quarter, and the planned initial public offering of McEwen Copper in the first half of 2023.

Los Azules’ current copper resources are estimated at 10.2 billion pounds (4.6 Mt) at a grade of 0.48% Cu (indicated category) and an additional 19.3 billion pounds (8.8 Mt) at a grade of 0.33% Cu (inferred category).

Mines and Money London looks at Resourcing Tomorrow

Beacon Events has rebranded the Mines and Money London event and come up with three comprehensive tracks that, it says, covers a spectrum of critical topics around the energy transition, ESG, sustainability, circular economy, technology, services and junior mining investment.

New for 2022, Resourcing Tomorrow, brought to you by Mines and Money, is a global forum for the coming together of decision makers, mining leaders, policymakers, investors, commodity buyers, technical experts, innovators and educators for three days of learning, deal-making and unparalleled networking, the event organisers say.

With an anticipated audience of 2,000 attendees, Resourcing Tomorrow runs from November 29 to December 1, 2022, at the Business Design Exhibition Centre in London.

The three tracks – Resourcing Tomorrow, Reimagining Mining and Mines and Money – will cover 120-plus talks, panel discussions and keynote presentations from 150-plus industry experts. This includes:

  • Jakob Stausholm, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto;
  • Mark Bristow, President & Chief Executive Officer, Barrick;
  • Roy Harvey, Chief Executive Officer, Alcoa;
  • Mikael Staffas, President & Chief Executive Officer, Boliden;
  • Stuart Tonkin, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Star Resources;
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Mining and Minerals, ICMM
  • Katy Hebditch, Head of Engagement – Technical and Sustainability, Anglo American;
  • Ellen Lenny-Pessagno, Global Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, Albemarle; and
  • Elaine Dorward-King, Non-executive Director for Sibanye Stillwater, Kenmare Resources and NovaGold.

On the third day, the Mines and Money Outstanding Achievement Awards will take place at the Bloomsbury Big Top to celebrate the very best of the industry through awards from exploration to deal making, from innovation in technology to CEOs who have made a difference, these awards recognise and reward excellence.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Resourcing Tomorrow event

WesTrac holds Cat D10T2 dozer handover ceremony with a difference

An equipment handover ceremony of a Cat® D10T2 dozer at WesTrac’s South Guildford facility, in Western Australia, this week held special meaning for the stakeholders involved, the Cat dealer says.

Indigenous contracting business Civil Road & Rail SX5, part of the broader SX5 Group of companies, will use the new dozer for mine rehabilitation services at Rio Tinto’s mine sites in the Pilbara.

According to SX5 Directors, Ralph Keller and Cherie Keller, and Co-Director and Eastern Guruma Senior Elder, Kenzie Smith, the act of rehabilitating the land has grown in significance over recent years.

“We’re making things green again, making Country feel better,” Ralph Keller said. “In repairing Country, we’re helping repair the trust and relationships with the region’s Traditional Owners.”

As well as being among the Traditional Owners of the land, Smith’s family have a long history of helping modern enterprises use and rehabilitate the land. The family once helped break horses and muster cattle on the stations in the region and was permitted to gather any stock left behind to sell themselves. SX5 was the brand applied to those stray cattle before they were taken to market. That set the family on an entrepreneurial path that resulted in Smith helping to establish and run SX5’s contracting business, according to WesTrac.

WesTrac General Manager, Cameron Callaway, said miners, as well as their suppliers and service providers, understand the vital importance of engaging with the Traditional Owners on whose country they operate to ensure continual improvement in environmental, social and governance outcomes.

“The world needs miners to supply the mineral resources required for a more sustainable future, and that means we need to support sustainable mining initiatives,” Callaway said. “Drawing on the knowledge of Traditional Owners and the expertise of knowledgeable, experienced Indigenous organisations such as SX5 is a key aspect of that, and it’s especially rewarding for WesTrac to be involved in projects such as this.”

The Cat D10T2, itself, comes with onboard technologies to drive greater efficiency, productivity and fuel economy, as well as improved operator safety and comfort. It is also equipped with the building blocks to enable remote and semi-autonomous operations.

Ralph Keller says technology has been key to SX5’s success, and support from Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has made it possible for the group to continue to purchase equipment with the latest machine control technologies.

“What makes us different is that SX5 continues to reinvent itself every day,” he said. “It’s all about technology. That’s how you achieve excellence and how you mitigate risk.”

IBA, a commercially-focused Federal Government organisation, supports First Nations businesses with cashflow and performance bond guarantees to enable business growth.

Kirsty Moore, IBA’s Chief Executive Officer, says: “Putting the regeneration of Country back in the hands of First Nations companies like SX5 is smart business and we’re so glad to support their efforts.

“IBA provides leasing opportunities to First Nations businesses so they can acquire critical capital equipment without tying up large amounts of cash that is needed to cover the operating costs of the business. The new equipment has stepped up the production and quality of work that the business has been able to achieve by using equipment that is purpose-built for the task.

“SX5 is a great example of a First Nations business transforming its opportunities to work with big business – all while restoring Country and being trained in new technology.”

Martin Roedhammer, Rio Tinto Manager Rehabilitation and Closure, said: “We work hard to leave a lasting, positive legacy everywhere we work. As part of this, we strive to generate opportunities for businesses to be part of our supply chain and deliver local economic benefits.

“Rio Tinto has worked with SX5 for more than seven years to support and develop the group’s capacity and understanding of our requirements and facilitate introductions across our Pilbara operations.

“A credit to SX5 is the business’ ability to think of ways to increase efficiency and get the best quality outcomes, trialling the use of chains to improve final surface finishes and modifying equipment to achieve improved vegetation establishment.

“We look forward to a continued successful relationship with SX5 and witnessing them grow even more in the future.”

Rio Tinto and partners incorporate new entity to progress Simandou iron ore plans

The government of the Republic of Guinea, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS) and Rio Tinto Simfer have incorporated the La Compagnie du TransGuinéen (The TransGuinean Company) to further progress plans to co-develop the multi-purpose and multi-user infrastructure for the Simandou iron ore project, in the country.

The joint venture incorporation is a significant milestone in implementation of the framework agreement signed among the parties on March 25, 2022. It has been fully registered and established in Guinea and is intended, following negotiation of definitive tripartite entity arrangements, the company will be the central structure for the co-development of the rail and the port components of the Simandou iron ore development project.

Following the incorporation of the joint venture, the parties will now work on next steps including shareholding agreement, finalising cost estimates and funding, and securing all necessary approvals and other permits and agreements required to progress the co-development of infrastructure.

WCS and Rio Tinto Simfer are committed to co-develop the rail and port infrastructures in line with internationally recognised environmental, social and governance standards, Rio says. This milestone paves the way to progress the shareholder agreement, and secure necessary financing to construct a strategic corridor with more than 600 km of rail infrastructure extending from south to south-west of the Republic of Guinea, as well as port infrastructure in the Forécariah prefecture in Maritime Guinea.

The infrastructure constitutes the backbone of the Simandou project, that presents a significant opportunity for the economic growth of the Republic of Guinea, in addition to the mining activities it will support, Rio says.

Sun Xiushun, Chairman of the Winning Consortium, said: “We are extremely grateful to our joint venture partners, the Guinean government and Rio Tinto Simfer for the spirit of cooperation they have shown in achieving this major milestone. The creation of La Compagnie du TransGuinéen is a positive step and builds a solid foundation for the realisation of the Simandou project. More importantly, it shows that WCS respects its commitments in a concrete way: to build and develop Guinea, and to significantly contribute to strengthening the country’s economy. WCS welcomes today’s signing and thanks all its partners on the ground, particularly our Guinean employees and surrounding communities without whom all this would not have been possible.”

Rio Tinto Executive Committee member in charge of the Simandou project and Copper Chief Executive, Bold Baatar, said: “The incorporation of La Compagnie du TransGuinéen 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.”

Djiba Diakité, Chairman of the Strategic Committee of the Simandou project and Minister Director of the Office of the Presidency of the Republic, said: “Under the leadership of the Head of State, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, the Republic of Guinea reassures the partners, and the world of its firm will to develop the Simandou project in the best interests of the people of Guinea, and all partners. Guinea’s mineral resources belong without exception to all of its daughters and sons and therefore nothing will be done to their detriment. Our country remains open to all responsible and serious mining investment that will help support the sustainable development of our economy and, in turn, is committed to maintaining a stable and calm business climate.”

WCS and Rio Tinto Simfer, the holders of blocks 1-2 and 3-4, respectively, are fully engaged with all stakeholders at national and local level to transform the iron ore potential of the Simandou mountain range into a sustainable source of wealth for the people of Guinea for generations to come, Rio added.

Shareholding of La Compagnie du TransGuinéen will be split between development partners Simfer Jersey Ltd. and WCS each receiving a 42.5% equity share and the Government of Guinea taking a 15% free carry equity stake.

WCS is a consortium of Singaporean company, Winning International Group (45%), Weiqiao Aluminium (part of the China Hongqiao Group) (35%) and United Mining Suppliers International (20%). WCS is the holder of Simandou North block 1-2 (with the Government of Guinea holding a 15% interest in the mining vehicle and WCS holding 85%) and associated infrastructure.

The Simfer joint venture comprises Simfer S.A., the holder of Simandou South Blocks 3 & 4, which is owned by the Government of Guinea (15%) and Simfer Jersey Limited (85%). In turn, Simfer Jersey Limited, is a joint venture between the Rio Tinto Group (53%) and Chalco Iron Ore Holdings (CIOH) (47%) – a Chinalco-led joint venture of leading Chinese SOEs (Chinalco (75%), Baowu (20%), China Rail Construction Corporation (CRCC) (2.5%) and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) (2.5%).