August 7th (Steel Guru) – Rio Tinto said that it would fight for its right to continue developing a world class iron ore project in Guinea, after the country’s president appeared to rescind the concession.

Mr Sam Walsh head of Rio’s iron ore division said that “This is a matter that is under very heavy discussion between us and our joint venture partners, the World Bank. We are in the midst of discussions. We will fight for our rights.”

Mr Walsh denied reports the Guinean government had accused Rio of developing a monopoly on all iron ore resources of the Simandou region, saying this was simply not true. He said Rio’s project comprised only 18% of the deposits of the Simandou range.

Rio has already spent USD 300 million developing the Simandou iron ore project, which is without doubt, the top undeveloped tier one iron ore asset in the world. Rio had planned to start mining at Simandou by 2013, but in June 2008 received a letter from the president’s office questioning the validity of its Simandou concession. Rio remains on site and said it was confident that its arrangements are in all respects in conformity with Guinean laws and that it has complied with its obligations.

Simandou is a prominent component of the list of growth projects Rio is using in its defense against a hostile USD 170 billion takeover bid from BHP Billiton. Building the mine and the railway needed to transport the iron ore to Guinea’s coast is expected to cost USD 6 billion. The project could eventually produce up to 170 million tonnes of iron ore a year.

May 29 (Mineweb) – China Metallurgical Group Corporation (“MCC”) has received confirmation of no objection from the Foreign Investment Review Board (“FIRB”) in respect of its proposed acquisition of the Cape Lambert Iron Ore Project.

The Company, Officers from MCC and their representative legal advisors are currently negotiating the terms of the Sale Agreement.

May 29 (The Hindu) – An attempt to illegally transport seized iron ore in Gadiganur police station limits of Bellary district has come to light. Timely action by officials, including those from the Revenue, and Mines and Geology departments, prevented the illegal transportation of iron ore. Inquiries have revealed that Lokayukta had passed on information that around 25,000 metric tonnes of ore illegally stocked in a plot had been seized and there were attempts to bring down the quantum of seized material to 10,000 metric tonnes and lift the remaining material.

Based on information, the Deputy Commissioner, Arvind Srivastav, directed the Hospet Tahsildar, Pragna Ammembal, and Deputy Director of Mines and Geology to look into the matter. Officials found around 31 lorries engaged in transportation of the material. A case has been registered. Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde told reporters that there appeared a collusion of some police officials in the incident.

May 27 (Daily Observer) – The 800,000 metric tons of iron ore case involving the Finance Investment & Development Corporation (FIDC) and the Liberia Mining Corporation (LIMINCO), as well as the Ministries of Lands, Mines and Energy, Finance and Justice, has resumed at the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia with the buyer, FIDC, claiming US$15,900,000 as damages.