The American mining exploration company High Power Exploration (HPX), controlled by Canadian businessman Robert Friedland, has been in discussion with the Guinean authorities for several months and has reached an agreement with the West African country to resume mining of the Mount Nimba iron ore deposit.
Signed on 5 September in Conakry, in the presence of Guinean President Alpha Condé and former South African Head of State Kgalema Motlanthe, the agreement endorses HPX’s acquisition of a 95% stake in the Mount Nimba iron ore deposit, previously owned by BHP, Newmont Goldcorp and Orano (formerly Areva). « I am delighted that HPX is working with the Guinean government and people to bring the Nimba deposit into production and help His Excellency Professor Alpha Condé realize his long-standing vision of Guinea becoming a global producer of iron ore, » said HPX CEO Eric Finlayson when signing the agreement. The leader also stated that »… more than 95% of the project’s current employees and collaborators are Guinean nationals and that the project’s recruitment and training program will continue to give priority to qualified Guineans for management and professional positions ». This speech is most certainly appreciated in a country which, despite its considerable mineral wealth, remains one of the poorest in the world ($883 in annual GDP per capita).
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HPX, which plans to develop the mine with an initial processing capacity of 5 million tonnes per year, which can later be extended to 20 million tonnes/year, should nevertheless benefit: according to a study carried out in 2015 by the United States Geological Survey, the Nimba deposit, located in Guinea’s forest region, contains around one billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore with very low levels of impurities.