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IFC Increases Investment in Guinean Iron Ore Project to Support Sustainable Mine Development and Local Economic Benefits


In Johannesburg:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone: +27 11 731 3179
E-mail: hbassiri@ifc.org

In Washington, DC:
Hannfried von Hindenburg
Phone: +1 (202) 458-5613

E-mail:  hvonhindenburg@ifc.org


Conakry/Washington, DC, September 24, 2007 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is increasing its investment in Rio Tinto’s Simandou iron ore project in Guinea to continue funding exploration and feasibility studies and to support its environmentally and socially sustainable development.

IFC has approved an additional $30 million investment in Simfer S.A., Rio Tinto’s Guinean project company, to maintain the 5 percent shareholding it acquired in 2006. IFC has been working with Rio Tinto on biodiversity, conservation, community development, and supply-chain linkages between the project and local entrepreneurs.

“IFC has considerable expertise and experience in projects like Simandou, particularly in maximizing the development benefit for local communities,” said Mike Harris, Managing Director of Rio Tinto Iron Ore Atlantic. “Working with IFC will enable us to increase jobs, improve infrastructure, and have a positive impact on the economy of surrounding areas.”

IFC’s involvement will support Rio Tinto and the Guinean government in conducting feasibility studies, environmental and social assessments, and ore transportation evaluations. IFC, the World Bank, and the government, have also conducted a broader study on best practice community development standards in the country’s mining sector. The study will be published soon, and the recommendations will be implemented shortly thereafter.

“By increasing our investment in the project, IFC is continuing a close relationship with Rio Tinto to benefit Guinea and its people,” said Somit Varma, IFC Director for Oil, Gas, Mining, and Chemicals. “The Simandou project has the potential to make a large, positive contribution to the country’s economy for many years and the infrastructure associated with the project will help attract further private sector investment to the region.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.