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  • Fortescue Metals (FMG) has signed a Mining Convention for the Belinga iron ore project in Gabon through its joint venture company Ivindo Iron
  • The Belinga project covers 4500 square kilometres, and mining is expected to start this year, producing two million tonnes of iron ore per annum
  • The early-stage mining development is estimated to cost $200 million, with the iron ore product from Belinga to be exported from the Owendo Mineral Port
  • Fortescue Chair Andrew Forrest says the project could one day be among the largest iron ore hubs in the world
  • FMG shares are up 1.77 per cent and trading at $22.44 at 3:59 pm AEDT

Fortescue Metals (FMG), through its joint venture company Ivindo Iron, has signed a Mining Convention for the Belinga iron ore project in Gabon, Central Africa.

FMG said the Mining Convention governed all the legal, fiscal, and regulatory regimes for the 4500-square-kilometre project, which is expected to begin producing up to two million tonnes of iron ore per annum in the second half of 2023.

The early-stage mining development of the project is estimated to cost around $200 million and will involve conventional open-pit mining methods.

The company plans to transport the iron using truck and rail, where it will be exported from the Owendo Mineral Port.

Fortescue Founder and Executive Chairman Andrew Forrest said geological mapping and sampling programs had confirmed the company’s initial thoughts that the Belinga iron ore hub could one day prove to be among the largest in the world.

“The key aspect of this particular geology is its potential to dovetail with Fortescue Pilbara ore blends,” Dr Forrest said.

“In doing so, it will preserve and enhance the iron ore industry of both Australia and Gabon.

“We have enjoyed strong support and positive feedback from local communities. We will continue to work together to maintain Fortescue’s highest standards of environmental and community consultation.”

Ivindo Iron is owned 90 per cent by the Belinga Joint Venture Company in which Fortescue holds an 80 per cent interest and the Africa Transformation and Industrialization Fund holds 20 per cent.

The Gabon government will have a free-carry interest of the remaining 10 per cent in Ivindo Iron.

The Belinga project is located in northeast Gabon and was discovered in 1955.

The deposit was assessed as having high iron content and low contamination.

“This emerging iron region is potentially massive. If it fulfils its promise, it will complement our Australian operations through enhancing our blended products, extending our mine lives and opening new global markets,” Dr Forrest said.

He said the project was being developed with the intention of preserving and enhancing the iron ore industry of both Australia and Gabon, with Fortescue’s commitment to combating climate change being a factor in the Gabonese government’s selection of the company for this project.

FMG shares were up 1.77 per cent and trading at $22.44 at 3:59 pm AEDT.

FMG by the numbers
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