In 2019, different investors – from billionaire Robert Friedland to legendary negotiator Mick Davis – and the other agents in the global mining industry they put the riches of Guinea in their sights. Its great interest can make the future of these deposits and their development change completely. And so far they had been the subject of disputes between their owners and local authorities.
For the first time in many years, miners can start work at the Simandou mine, considered the jewel of Guinea. Its exploration will have enormous implications for both the country and the world industry. The new tons of iron threaten to invade the market just at the moment when global demand for steel is cooling. Therefore, the high quality iron hidden in Guinea is able to increase the pressure on the miners.
One of the key players present in Guinea is the international consortium SMB-Winning. During the last five years he has been able to rapidly develop bauxite mining in the African country. The conglomerate, headed by Fadi Wazni, obtained the right to develop a part of the Simandou deposits.
The consortium plans to end up extracting about 100 million tons per year, which will help Guinea become the third largest supplier of iron in the world, after Australia and Brazil. Its ambitious plan requires that 14,000 million dollars be invested and that a railroad be built. Wazni says the company will begin to lay the tracks in April 2020, and is now negotiating with its partners to attract additional funds.
“The SMB consortium has transformed the bauxite market in a matter of two years. It is a great deal. It is something that can significantly change the dynamics of iron ore,” said RBC Capital Markets company analyst Tyler Broda.
In turn, the British company Niron Metals, belonging to Mick Davis, studies the possibility of developing the iron mine located in the city of Zogota. This is a smaller project that could end up producing about 20 million tons of metal per year. Davis agreed to export the ore through Liberia with the governments of both countries.
“That Mick is involved has given the alarm. It is a market that is now open, serious people put their eyes back on it,” said Marcos Camhis, owner of a private fund that owns 25% of the shares of Niron
Robert Friedland is the third industry agent who was involved in several mining findings in Guinea in the last three decades. In September 2019 the Friedland company, High power exploration, earned the right to develop a deposit of Nimba. The company plans to build a plant that extracts between one and five million tons of iron from this mine as soon as possible. However, several ongoing studies point to the possibility of expanding annual iron production to 20 million tons at this site.