Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work toward potential development of the giant Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, as half-year earnings showed the steel-making ingredient dominated the second-biggest miner’s profits.
There’s been a longstanding question mark over Rio’s stake in the massive African deposit. For years, a cast of owners including Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and authorities in the West African nation fought over rights to develop Simandou.
Even with those disputes now settled, Rio must decide whether it’s prepared to spend the large amounts needed to extract and transport the super-rich ore from its part of the project.
New studies with Rio’s Chinese partners are aimed at cutting the capital intensity, operating costs and development timetable, with some fieldwork to start this half, the London-based miner said Wednesday in an earnings statement.
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