Guinea’s ruling junta has ordered a full halt of Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) vast Simandou iron ore project in the country’s southeast, with interim president Mamady Doumbouya saying it is not clear how the mine will preserve national interests.
The current government, who took power in a military coup in September, said in a statement that Doumbouya had not seen any progress in that direction, despite having discussed the matter with Rio’s boss Jakob Stausholm in December.
“[Colonel Doumbouya] therefore ordered the cessation of all activity on the ground pending the answers to questions posed to various actors and the clarification of the operational mode by which the interests of Guinea will be preserved,” government spokesperson Ousmane Gaoual Diallo said in the statement.
Simandou, owned by Rio Tinto and a Chinese-backed consortium, spent years in limbo because of disputes over ownership rights and the complexity and expense of transporting ore to the coast.
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