CONAKRY, June 14 (Reuters) - Guinea’s national assembly ratified an investment framework on Saturday to enable the government to raise nearly $20 billion with Rio Tinto and Chinalco for Simandou South, Africa’s largest iron ore and infrastructure project.
The framework first signed on May 26 needed the assembly’s approval to strengthen the fundraising process, which also involves the International Finance Corporation.
Witnesses said President Alpha Conde’s party all voted for the bill as well as some independent members but the opposition did not attend the session.
“This huge project is truly historic because it is the largest integrated mine project ever in our country,” said economist Ousmane Kaba, president of the mining and industry commission.
To export the high-grade ore from the remote Simandou South concession to Guinea’s Atlantic coast requires the construction of a 650-km railway through the jungle, a deep-water port and support infrastructure costing at least $18.4 billion.
Production is due to start in 2018. The project has been delayed by political volatility in Guinea and long commercial negotiations. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)