According to the Mining.com website, Guinea's Ministry of Mines has once again completely suspended all development activities at the Simandou iron ore project because the two related companies failed to reach an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture within an extended period.
Guinea's mining minister, Moussa Magassouba, who is also a member of the current military government, said that neither Rio Tinto's subsidiary Simfer nor the Win Alliance lacked the will to cooperate, and the local media dreamed of Guinea (Vision Guineae) reported that.
"The timing of the company's implementation of the framework agreement was too far behind our expectations. This situation is no longer a pity but totally unacceptable," Magasoba said.
The minister added that although "the Guinean government has made significant concessions, it is clear that resistance has come from the two companies and the interests of the project have been compromised".
Guinea's current government, which came to power in a military coup last September, is growing impatient with the companies that control the giant Simandou deposit.
Previously, the Guinean government had ordered the suspension of the construction of the Simandou iron ore mine and supporting infrastructure. In March, Rio Tinto and Win Alliance were forced to sign a framework agreement to "jointly build" the project's infrastructure, including a 670-kilometer railway and a port.
In June, the military government gave the two companies another 14 days to discuss the establishment of a joint venture.
Guinean authorities say the companies risk losing their licenses if they fail to meet the project's tight deadlines.
The mine has not been developed since Rio Tinto obtained an exploration license for the Simandou iron ore mine 25 years ago.
The Simandou iron ore is one of the easiest iron ore deposits to develop outside of Australia and Brazil. Its reserves are about 2 billion tons and the grade is as high as 66%-68%.
If it reaches full production capacity, Simandou iron ore can export 100 million tons of iron ore annually, making it the fifth largest iron ore in the world.
While exporting iron ore through neighboring Liberia is closer and cheaper, the Guinean government has repeatedly demanded that Simandou iron ore developers must build a railroad across the country.
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