CONAKRY, Nov 14 (Reuters) – A consortium representing Chinese, French and Singaporean interests won a $14 billion tender to develop part of Guinea’s Simandou iron ore project, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters, edging out Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group.
The consortium – which includes Société Minière de Boké (SMB) and Singapore’s Winning Shipping as well as Guinean government interests – has committed to develop blocks 1 and 2 of the largest known deposit of its kind, holding more than 2 billion tonnes of high-grade ore.
Guinea has sought to develop the Simandou deposit for decades, but the project has been mired in protracted legal disputes and the high costs have curbed interest.
The government required bidders to build a 650 km (400 mile) railway and deepwater port to transport the ore from the remote southeastern corner of Guinea to the coast for export, deterring some miners from bidding.
SMB-Winning put $14 billion on the table to develop the blocks and build the infrastructure, according to a government source who asked not to be named because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of the mining ministry.
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