Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced a further US$211 million for continued studies and US$1.1 billion of funding commitments for early works and procurement of long-lead items for its Simandou project in Guinea.


The announcement comes as Rio Tinto continues its application process for regulatory approval with project partner Chalco, which, once granted, will trigger the formation of a Joint Venture.


"Simandou is the best known undeveloped iron ore resource and one of the great greenfield mining projects worldwide. Development of this outstanding resource will create a major new iron ore producing province, on a par with the historic development of the Pilbara iron ore region in Australia,” Rio Tinto chief executive Iron Ore and Australia Sam Walsh said.


Work has already begun on the marine off-load facility near the preferred port site of Ile Kabak, 50 kilometres south east of Conakry, enabling the introduction of heavy equipment for construction. In-country support services such as air-charter, extensive camp works and associated infrastructure are also in progress, as is the commencement of earthworks for the extensive 650 kilometre rail corridor.



The decision brings the total amount committed by Rio Tinto for the project to US$3 billion. Of this amount, approximately US$2 billion has been allocated to mine-related costs and US$1 billion to infrastructure requirements.