Simandou, Nimba and Zogota: the long and difficult road to the start of iron ore production
Guinea, which is generally seen as having some of the biggest unexploited iron ore deposits in the world in its south eastern corner, is also one of the countries in which they are the most difficult to bring into production, principally because of the absence of infrastructures to evacuate the ore. Société Minière de Boké, which has the rights to the northern part of the Simandou project (blocks 1 and 2), still believes in its project, however, and this could serve to encourage its neighbours in the southern part (blocks 3 and 4), Rio Tinto and Chinalco. Two other nearby iron ore bodies have also attracted the leading figures of the international mining sector. Nimba is controlled by Canadian magnate Robert Friedland and the development of Zogota, in which Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz is still involved, is being spearheaded by former British Conservative Party chief executive Mick Davis. The resumption of activity on the three major iron ore projects in south eastern Guinea seems, moreover, to be attracting new investors to adjoining exploration permits.