Recent moves to unlock Guinea’s rich high-grade iron ore resources in the Simandou Range have been the catalyst for Arrow Minerals to advance its own asset in the region.
First discovered in the 1990s, the 110km Simandou Range is known to host the largest undeveloped high-grade iron ore deposits in the world with at least 4 billion tonnes of ore at an average grade of 65.5% – among the highest in the world.
For comparison, Australia’s iron ore production from BHP averages around 62%, while some lower grade products from Rio and Fortescue can be below 57%.
This high quality iron ore has an added benefit apart from a high price – premium iron is the only way to make zero-emission green steel.
However, despite strong interest from China – which believes that iron ore from the region could decouple its dependence on iron ore supplies from Australia – previous plans to develop iron ore deposits from Simandou have been stalled due to politics, corruption, disputes over mineral rights and capital cost concerns.
This appears to be changing with the formation of Compagnie du TransGuineen (The TransGuinean Company), a joint venture between Rio Tinto, the Guinean government and the Chinese winning consortium Simandou (WCS).
The joint venture will develop the multi-user infrastructure such as a railway and a port that will be necessary for the start of a large-scale mining activity in Simandou – an activity that could reach up to 200 million tonnes per year .
It is this infrastructure development that has Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) so enthusiastic and focused on the potential of his asset in Guinea. This is the key to unlocking the value of its Simandou North Iron Project, which sits immediately north of WCS Blocks 1, 2 and Blocks 3 and 4 that make up Rio’s Simandou Project.
Part of the under-explored 490 km2 The project was previously owned by BSGR and Vale and covers the northern extension of the Simandou Range and although there are no defined resources to date, Managing Director Hugh Bresser said Stockhead that host lithologies of itabirite ironstones in WCS and Rio soil are confirmed to extend into the Arrow landholding.
Historical airborne geophysical surveys have highlighted the continuation of the Simandou iron formations while historical shallow Vale limited drilling has confirmed the presence of iron-rich stratigraphy.
“We know that there are ferrous rock formations on the ground and we are in the process of conducting exploration to define drill areas to advance the outlook to the point where we can formulate a mineral resource estimate,” explained Bresser.
“Our goal is to move the project forward in a timeframe that allows us to have a resource in place, negotiate a commercial access agreement, and be able to connect directly to current infrastructure developments to bring the project to global development.”
The company’s prospective work program at Simandou North includes detailed interpretation of airborne geophysics, field mapping and geochemical sampling, identification of high priority targets, ground geophysics to help vectorize areas high-grade and drill-testing specific targets to assess the scale potential of iron-rich zones.
Arrow expects to have drill rigs on site by the end of this year or early next year to begin drilling the ironstones and get a first indication of the scale of the opportunity.
“Exploration will be very results-oriented. We follow a science-based systematic approach where programs are guided by decision points, results provide an indication of success and allow us to define our next key decision point,” Bresser added.
“While Simandou North has stepped up its plans, we remain committed to continuing Arrow’s growth and delivering long-term shareholder value.”
“The company remains nimble and flexible to new business opportunities and will continue to move forward with additional work in Burkina Faso on the Dassa deposit to bring them towards resource definition and initial drilling at Kordie to verify the presence of high-grade gold,” Bresser said.
The Company’s operations are supported by the experience of its management operating in Africa and in exploration for gold, iron and copper.
“The key is how to operate in West Africa and get the results we want to increase the potential for creating shareholder value,” Bresser said.
“Operating effectively in West Africa requires a commitment to ESG and maintaining a social license to operate. For this reason, we are pleased to know that WCS and Rio Tinto Simfer are committed to co-develop rail and port infrastructure in accordance with internationally recognized environmental, social and governance standards. This aligns well with our operating philosophy and company values. »
“Arrow ensures that we are in constant contact with the government, the communities in which we operate so that we operate smoothly and are able to deliver results while benefiting local communities.”
He added that the company envisions a future where Arrow is able to supply DSO green steel grade iron ore to the market every year.
Buyers are expected to come primarily from the Chinese foundry market, although any iron producer seriously considering green steel and decarbonization will find the high iron grade product of significant interest, Green Hydrogen Electric Furnaces being considered for Indonesia and Japan.
“We have a lot of work to do to achieve our ambitious goal, but I think the key overall for us is that we have no equal in this space – we are an emerging iron explorer from Africa of the West listed in Australia, that is – sitting in the same arena as Rio Tinto and the Winning Corporations,” Bresser said.
“We are striving to become a serious player in the green steel market, one that is unencumbered and growing right now.”
This article was developed in conjunction with Arrow Minerals (ASX: AMD), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publication.
This article does not constitute advice on financial products. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.