Rio Tinto and its venture partners are popping the cork after locking in almost $23 billion in funding for the Simandou iron ore project in the Republic of Guinea.

Simandou represents the world’s largest untapped resource of high-grade iron ore, with over two billion tonnes available, according to the resource estimate.

The now-signed funding agreement will be used to construct critical transport and export infrastructure, including rail lines and port facilities.

The Simandou mountain range stretches for 100 km along Guinea’s south-eastern corner, and the partners hope that it will create new, long-lasting opportunities for the burgeoning African nation.

The presidential office of Guinea announced the agreement, which was welcomed by Djiba Diakite, the head of the strategic committee that led the negotiations.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

“Simandou is no longer a dream but a reality”, Diakite said. “There is no doubt that the project will be delivered on schedule by the end of December 2025”.

Rio Tinto offered a statement regarding the funding decision and was understandably buoyant about the opportunity.

The company said, “Its subsoils contain the world’s largest untapped reserve of high-grade iron ore, estimated at over two billion tonnes. Developing a project of Simandou’s scale is a unique opportunity”.

The Simandou high-grade iron ore project, along with existing production in Australia’s Pilbara region and Canada, is now part of Rio’s global iron ore portfolio.

Aussie METS Teams are Off to the Moon!

Australia’s Mining, Equipment, Technology, and Services sector, or METS, is renowned worldwide for its inherent capability and know-how.

Pretty soon, METS companies could also make their presence felt beyond Planet Earth as the sector gears up to partner with NASA for a deep space exploration program.

Prominent METS industry group Austmine and Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE), a not-for-profit team, are working with NASA to identify METS companies with advanced, value-adding solutions for the space sector.

Aussie companies shortlisted under the program will get to present their solutions at the NASA-USGS Workshop in San Jose, California, in May this year.

“Exploring with NASA highlights the exceptional capabilities, world-leading reputation, and innovative spirit of Australia’s METS sector”, said Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs.

“This workshop provides a unique opportunity for the Australian METS sector to demonstrate not only their expertise in mining technology but also how these innovations can be applied in the challenging environment of space exploration”.

Adding, “by participating and submitting their innovative ideas to these challenges, Australian companies are showcasing their capabilities to NASA and further positioning themselves as technology leaders no matter the environment”.


Albo Ups his ‘Australian Made’ Push

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has continued the drive for a renewed Australian manufacturing sector, announcing the Future Made in Australia Act. 

Speaking at the Queensland media club last week, Albo reaffirmed his government’s commitment to attracting more investment in Australian renewable energy and critical industries.

Experts point to the announcement as a response to America’s highly promising yet misleadingly named Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which is worth $30 billion in advanced manufacturing production tax credits and aims to stimulate the downstream processing of critical minerals. 

Australia’s industry bodies recommended a similar approach for Australia to remain competitive, with the government now heeding the call.

“During this time of great opportunity, our Government will be an active participant, partner, investor, and enabler rather than just an observer or spectator”, Mr Albanese stated in his speech.

“We will be guided by three principles. First, we need to act and invest at scale. Second, we need to be more assertive in capitalising on our comparative advantages and building sovereign capability in areas of national interest”.

“Thirdly, we will continue to strengthen and invest in the foundations of economic success”, he added. 

Industry bodies have largely applauded Mr Albanese’s move. 


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