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Sir Mick Davis, former head of the mining group Xstrata, has cut off ties with Niron Metals, a co-founded investment vehicle to develop large iron ore deposits in Guinea.
Davis, who chaired Niron, resigned from the board this month and is no longer the “significant ruler” of the private sector, according to a filing with Companies House.
Davis, a former Conservative CEO known as “Mick the Miner,” served as CEO of Billiton and CEO of Xstrata until it was acquired by Glencore in 2013, in the industry. It is one of the most famous names.
After leaving Xstastra, he founded X2 Resources. This is a mining vehicle that has secured billions of dollars of commitment from investors but ultimately failed to close the deal.
Niron was registered in the UK in 2018, and a year later, BSGR, a mining group managed by the family of Israeli diamond giant Beny Steinmetz, commissioned the development of the Zogata iron ore deposit.
The agreement was part of Broader deal between BSGR and the Government of Guinea This helped end the long-standing controversy over mining rights in resource-rich West African countries. There, President Alpha Conde was defeated in a coup this month.
According to people familiar with the situation, Davis’ decision to cut off his relationship with Niron was made before Conde was defeated. Davis said it could take years before Niron could secure a route to the Zogata iron ore market and wanted to focus on other projects.
Earlier this year, Davis launched a fund to invest in battery metals. The vehicle, Vision Blue Resources, made its first investment in February and also contributed to the launch of the $ 300 million New York-listed special purpose vehicle.
Guinea is home to some of the finest iron ores in the world, including the giant Simando deposit. However, the country could not take advantage of its natural blessings.
A consortium supported by China 650km trans-Guinea railway It will connect Simando and potentially other mines to the deep sea harbor on the coast. However, it may take several years to complete.
In 2019, Niron signed a memorandum of understanding to transport iron ore via neighboring Liberia to the port of Buchanan on the existing rail line used by the generous ArcelorMittal. He then completed a feasibility study of the Zogota deposit, which was handed over to the Guinean government a year ago.
However, plans to export iron ore through Liberia are questionable. ArcelorMittal and Monrovia recently announced a new mineral development agreement that steel makers will triple their iron ore production at the Yekepa mine in Liberia and invest an additional $ 800 million.
“We continued to seek sustainable, long-term logistics solutions to maximize the potential of the Zogota project for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Niron.
“Thanks to Sir Mick for his valuable leadership and insight while in Niron,” he said. “Sir Mick played an important role in facilitating the development of Niron and the reassessment of the potential of Guinea’s iron ore industry. I hope his future efforts will be successful.”
Other directors of Niron include Greek fund manager Marcos Camhis and former De Beers diamond trading director Varda Shine.
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