Rio Tinto reports 2.25 billion tonnes of iron ore resources at its Simandou project in the Republic of Guinea

May 29, 2008

May 29 (Politics.co.uk) – Rio Tinto has further strengthened its position within the iron ore industry with a 2.25 billion tonne addition to its global iron ore resource base.

Significant exploration and resource definition work undertaken over a number of years on the Simandou Mining Concession granted to Rio Tinto in March 2006 has led to the discovery and definition of JORC compliant resources. These resources are located within the Pic de Fon and Oueleba deposits which form part of the Simandou range in south eastern Guinea.

The chief executive of Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Sam Walsh, said: “Simandou in Guinea represents a major new iron ore province. Its strategic location gives us access to the Atlantic basin and the fast growing Middle Eastern market. We are planning the development of our first production phase of 70 million tonnes per annum, potentially rising to 170 million tonnes per annum, subject to agreement with the government of Guinea. We believe this area represents one of the best undeveloped major deposits of premium-grade iron ore in the world.”

Location of the deposits
The Pic de Fon and Oueleba deposits are located ~550km east-south-east of Guinea’s capital Conakry towards the southern end of the 110km long Simandou range in SE Guinea (see Figure 1 below) within Rio Tinto’s Simandou Mining Concession.

Geology of Pic de Fon and Oueleba
The Simandou range consists of a sequence of deformed itabirites, phyllites and quartzites within Proterozoic basement rocks. At Pic de Fon and Oueleba, the itabirites have been enriched to form hematite and hematite-goethite mineralisation.

Both the Pic de Fon and Oueleba deposits are approximately 7.5 km in length and up to 1km wide. The two deposits are separated by approximately 4 km in a north south direction along the Simandou range.

Rio Tinto has drilled over 500 reverse circulation and diamond drill holes (approximately 93,000m) at Pic de Fon and Oueleba. Very high-grade iron ore mineralisation has been intersected to over 300m depth at both deposits.

Mineral Resources
The resources at Pic de Fon and Oueleba have been generated in compliance with JORC Code guidelines. All resources quoted below are within the Simandou Mining Concession (March 2006) in which Rio Tinto holds a 95 per cent interest with the remaining 5 per cent held by the International Finance Corporation, the investment branch of the World Bank Group The government of Guinea retains an option to purchase up to a 20 per cent interest in the Simandou project.

The tabulated resources are split into the two deposits and are considered extractable using currently available standard mining and processing technologies. All resources are reported on an in-situ dry tonnes and grades basis.

Pic de Fon Mineral Resources (for Fe >62%):

 
Resource Category Tonnes (Mt) Fe %
Indicated 320 67.2
Inferred 252 66.2
Total 572 66.8

Oueleba Mineral Resources (for Fe >62%):

 
Resource Category Tonnes (Mt) Fe %
Indicated 980 65.6
Inferred 703 65.8
Total 1,682 65.7

Approximately 30 per cent of the Inferred resources reported above are extrapolated outside of the current drilling coverage. The mineralisation envelope has defined and constrained using drilling data, detailed surface mapping and ground magnetics in accordance with an appropriate genetic model for this style of deposit.

Future Direction
Rio Tinto’s evaluation work is continuing at both deposits as part of a Pre-Feasibility study to further improve the confidence in the known resources and for definition of additional resources. The pre-feasibility study is also evaluating rail and port infrastructure and completing environmental and social studies.

In addition, Rio Tinto is aggressively exploring the remaining parts of the 738km2 Simandou Mining Concession for further resources as part of an agreed programme with the Government of Guinea.

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