AtkinsRealis partners with Rio Tinto for Guinea's Simandou iron ore project. This collaboration aims to tap into the world's largest untapped high-grade iron ore deposit, promising a 26-year mine life and an annual export capacity of up to 120 million metric tons. The $6.2 billion initial investment underscores Rio Tinto's dedication to bolstering the steel industry's decarbonization.
Canada-based engineering entity AtkinsRealis, formerly known as SNC Lavalin, has marked a pivotal alliance as the integrated delivery partner for Australia-based miner Rio Tinto's groundbreaking Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. This strategic collaboration is set to unlock the potential of the world's largest untapped high-grade iron ore deposit, promising vast opportunities for both entities.
Simandou, situated in Guinea, harbors a reservoir of immense potential, boasting an estimated Total Mineral Resource of 2.8 billion metric tons, with Rio Tinto converting 1.5 billion tons to Ore Reserves, supporting a robust mine life of 26 years. The ore exhibits an average grade of 65.3% iron, paired with minimal impurities, signaling a boon for the steel industry's quest for high-grade resources.
Rio Tinto's estimated initial capital expenditure for the Simandou project and its integrated rail and port infrastructure hovers around $6.2 billion. Bold Baatar, Rio Tinto's Executive Committee lead for Guinea and Copper Chief Executive, underscores the project's significance in bolstering steel industry decarbonization efforts and contributing to Guinea's economic advancement.
This venture is slated to birth the largest greenfield integrated mine and infrastructure investment in Africa, heralding the development of over 600 kilometers of new multi-use rail and port facilities. This transformative infrastructure aims to facilitate the export of up to 120 million metric tons per annum of iron ore, propelling Simandou into a pivotal role in the global iron ore trade.
The project's infrastructure development, equally shared between Simfer and WCS, encompasses extensive rail construction and port facilities. Simfer is set to construct a 70-kilometer rail-spur and a transhipment vessel port, while WCS takes charge of a substantial 536-kilometer main rail line and other essential infrastructure components.
Anticipated to commence production in 2025, the Simfer mine foresees an annualized capacity of 60 million metric tons. This mining endeavor, contributing to the steel industry's decarbonization efforts, will initially yield a single fines product, transitioning gradually to a dual fines product suitable for blast furnace and direct reduction processes.
AtkinsRealis' partnership with Rio Tinto signifies a bold stride towards unlocking Guinea's Simandou iron ore project's vast potential. This venture, with its massive initial investment and robust infrastructure development, not only promises to revolutionize the global iron ore landscape but also aligns with the steel industry's pursuit of sustainable and high-grade resources.