Guinea reached a deal Oct. 11 allowing miners in the country to use railroads in neighboring Liberia to export through the Buchanan port, said to be the most cost-efficient method to ship iron ore from Guinea.
Several mining projects in Guinea are near its border with Liberia, and they may not be profitable if they export through Guinea's coast, the country's mines minister, Abdoulaye Magassouba, told Reuters.
High Power Exploration Inc.'s Nimba and Niron Metals' Zogota iron ore projects, SRG Mining Inc.'s Lola graphite deposit and a Zali Mining project are expected to benefit from the deal, which applies to the first 5 million tonnes produced at the mines, Magassouba said in the report. Afterward, the Guinean government will study the feasibility of a 650-kilometer railway to the Guinean coast, which will be built by the eventual owner of the Simandou iron ore project. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and SMB-Winning are the two remaining bidders for Simandou.
The Reuters report noted that Nimba and Zogota still need consent from ArcelorMittal, the sole rail concession holder in Liberia, to allow them to use its infrastructure. ArcelorMittal declined to comment on the report, according to the newswire.