Vale has said it will begin iron ore production at its Zogota mine in Simandou, Guinea, in 2012.

Phase I of the project involves the development of the Zogota mine, a dry processing plant, a dedicated railroad and a maritime terminal on the coast of Liberia.

The firm expects an annual production of 15 million tons of iron from this initial phase.

Phase II includes increasing the capacity to 50 million tons/year by 2020, stemming from the development of blocks one and two, and an additional rail spur connecting them to Zogoto.

Vale is also reconstructing a 660km (410 mile) railway between Conakry and Kankan near Simandou as part of its agreement with the Guinean Government.

The mine will be the largest integrated iron ore mine and infrastructure project in Africa.