Fortescue Metals Group, through majority-owned joint venture Ivindo Iron, has signed a mining convention with the Gabonese government to start mining ore at the Belinga project in the second half of 2023.
The convention governs all the legal, fiscal and regulatory regimes for the 4,500-square-kilometres project in northeast Gabon, including early development for production of up to 2 million tonnes per annum, while studies advance potential designs of a large scale development.
“Geological mapping and sampling programs have confirmed our initial thoughts that this new West African iron ore hub may well one day prove to be among the largest in the world,” said Fortescue Founder and Executive Chairman Dr. Andrew Forrest.
“The key aspect of this particular geology is its potential to dovetail with Fortescue Pilbara ore blends. In doing so, it will preserve and enhance the iron ore industry of both Australia and Gabon.”
The capital estimate for the early stage mining development is US$200 million with investment over 2023-24. The development involves conventional open pit mining methods to produce the ore, which will be trucked and railed over existing roads and rail infrastructure, and will be shipped from the Owendo Mineral Port, near Libreville.
Ivindo Iron, a joint venture between Fortestcue (80%) and Africa Transformation and Industrialization Fund (20%), will be the operator of Belinga.