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The Belinga Iron Ore project is set to start mining in the second half of this year.

The Belinga Iron Ore project in West Africa is set to start mining in the second half of this year.

The joint venture between Fortescue and Ivindo Iron SA is located in north-east Gabon and has worked to open growth opportunities for Fortescue throughout Africa.

Fortescue and Ivindo Iron have now signed the mining convention for the project with the Gabonese Republic.

The mining convention governs all the legal, fiscal and regulatory regimes for the 4500 square kilometres that comprise the Belinga project, including early development for production of up to two million tonnes per annum.

“The Gabonese Republic chose Fortescue to develop Belinga not only due to our strong track record of delivering major projects, but due also to our company wide commitment to use our major industrial scale and expertise to assist heavy industry combat climate change,” Fortescue founder and executive chairman Andrew Forrest said.

“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.

“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 approximately $US200 million (100 per cent basis) with investment over calendar 2023–24.

The development involves conventional open-pit mining methods to produce the ore, which will be trucked and railed over existing infrastructure and will be shipped from the Owendo Mineral Port, near Libreville.

“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,” Forrest said.

“Due to its clear and unambiguous industrial leadership away from climate change, FFI (Fortescue Future Industries) has attracted respect from governments around the world.

“This support, as indicated by Fortescue’s selection to develop Belinga by the Gabonese Government, has facilitated Fortescue’s transition to a global green resources, green energy and products company.”