Fortescue Will Determine Feasibility of Belinga Iron Ore Project
The agreement comprises a 36-month exclusivity period over an area totaling approximately 5,500 square kilometers to study and negotiate a mining convention for the development of the Belinga Iron Ore Project. A separate Gabon mining company will be established to enter into the Mining Convention and to hold the mining tenure over the Belinga Iron Ore Project. The mining company will be established by an incorporated joint venture, which will be owned 80% by Fortescue and 20% by the Africa Transformation and Industrialization Fund, an Africa-focused investment fund incorporated in Abu Dhabi. The joint venture will initially focus on exploration works to determine the potential size and grade of the Belinga iron ore deposit and logistics solutions during the exclusivity period.
“Consistent with our active business development and exploration programs, Fortescue is pursuing global opportunities in iron ore that align with our strategy and expertise,” Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said. “We look forward to working with the Gabon Government on this project as we continue to invest in assets to optimize growth and returns in our iron ore business.”
Gabon Minister for Petroleum, Gas, Hydrocarbons and Mines Vincent de Paul Massassa said, “This is a highly significant announcement for the future growth and development of our economy. We know that the Belinga deposit is one of the world’s largest high-grade iron ore deposits and the opportunity to work with an established mining company with the track record and reputation of Fortescue will allow us to fully explore the potential that we know exists in the project.”
The Belinga Iron Ore Project is located in the northeast of Gabon. The deposit was initially discovered in 1955, and subsequent exploration in the 1970s identified high iron and low contaminant mineralization. The deposit sits in Archean aged rocks of the Congo Craton. The lithology and structure are typical of other greenstone belts that commonly host banded iron formations and itabirites found in other parts of West Africa such as the Simandou project. The Belinga Iron Ore Project has been progressively assessed by Fortescue since 2018.