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Simandou to start at 2 mln T in 2012-Vale.

(Audio available further in this article)

Vale's Simandou to start 2012 with 2 mln T capacity

* Production seen at 50 mln tonnes by 2020 (Vale corrects statement to show iron output will begin 2012 with 2 million tonnes per year capacity)

CONAKRY, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Iron ore production from Vale's (VALE5.SA: Quote)(VALE.N: Quote) Zogota mine at Simandou, in Guinea, will begin production in 2012 at 2 million tonnes per year, the company said on Tuesday.

(To listen to this article, click on the player below)


The first phase of the project will reach production capacity of 15 million tonnes per annum by 2014 while the second phase will see capacity reaching 50 million tonnes per year in 2020, a company official said.

 Vale acquired the project last year with the purchase of a majority stake a division of mining company BSG Resources.

The news comes as Guinea's President Alpha Conde seeks to double the state's share in mining projects to about a third through changes to the mining code.

No details have emerged on any changes to the deal over the Simandou south concession, which Vale has called one of the best deposits in the world and said it will invest $5 billion in.

The rights to Simandou were once entirely controlled by Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote)(RIO.AX: Quote) but, after a long dispute with the Guinean state, Rio was stripped of Blocks 1 and 2 in the southern part of the concession.

These are now in the hands of Vale and BSG and the firms have secured an agreement to export their iron ore through Liberia.

But, as part of the agreement with Guinea, Vale is funding the rehabilitation of the 660 km (410 mile) railway between Conakry, the capital, and Kankan, in the east, near Simandou. (Reporting by Saliou Samb and Brian Ellsworth; writing by David Lewis; editing by Keiron Henderson)


By Saliou Samb

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