Contrary to claims from the junta and Rio Tinto, work will not get under way properly at Simandou until the necessary funds have been released. This should happen only when Baowu Steel has been officially admitted into the WCS consortium.
The two consortia involved in the Simandou iron ore project seem to be reluctant to pledge the $500m sought by the construction groups to restart the rail construction work that was stopped in 2022. These uncertainties are fuelling renewed tensions.
The revenues of the company that manages the state's mining interests have increased significantly, particularly in the bauxite sector, and it is now directly selling some of the minerals it extracts, in particular to the Chinese.
Winning Consortium Simandou has retained Franco-Australian lawyer Christophe Asselineau, indicating a shift of power between the three partners of the consortium that owns blocks 1 and 2 of the massive iron ore deposit in Guinea.
The creation of Beijing's new iron ore purchasing arm, China Mineral Resources Group, led by Baowu Steel executives, is likely to entail changes for Chinese state firms involved in the two consortiums that own the colossal Guinean deposit.
Moussa Magassouba, appointed head of the Guinean Ministry of Mines and Geology after the September 2021 coup, coordinates the beating heart of Guinean economy. However, he has been subject to frequent criticism from both civil society organisations and members of the government.