Shareholders in the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea have signed financing agreements totalling $15bn, Bloomberg reported.

Financial commitment is earmarked for the development of essential rail and port infrastructure.

The funding will also support Compagnie du Trans-Guinéen, a JV in which the Guinean Government holds a 15% stake.

The remaining ownership is split equally between a Rio Tinto-led consortium and the China-backed Winning Consortium Simandou, each holding 42.5%.

These infrastructural enhancements are critical for the project’s advancement.

The signing of the agreements follows approvals from Guinea’s transitional parliament and Chinese regulatory authorities, as confirmed by a statement from Guinea’s presidency, which was posted on social media platform X.

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Strategic committee head Djiba Diakite, who led the talks, was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Simandou is no longer a dream but a reality. There is no doubt that the project will be delivered on schedule by the end of December 2025.”

The Simandou iron ore project is reputed to be the world’s largest untapped reserve.

In February this year, the National Transition Council of Guinea approved a joint development agreement for the Simandou iron ore project.

The project has faced numerous challenges including a complicated ownership structure, legal disputes, political changes in Guinea and construction difficulties.

However, the recent ratification signals progress towards the project’s anticipated completion by the end of 2024, according to the council’s spokesperson, Mory Dounoh.

Rio Tinto, through its Simfer JV with China’s Chalco Iron Ore Holdings and the Guinean Government, controls two of the four mining blocks within the Simandou range.