The Cortellazzi Consortium

February 15, 2008

Steel Rail Blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — 18montecristo67 @ 11:20 am

Umining has issued a number of press releases since November 2007 regarding a mysterious project in West Africa.

Umining announced the location in it’s latest press release as the Simondou area of Guinea and claiming to be in the final stages of a multi million dollar project:

“The Mining Concession consists of an iron ore property situated in the Mount Simandou region of southeastern Guinea. The property covers a 55-km-long zone in the Simandou Mountain Range. Drill assays from previous exploration programs on the Simandou Range indicated a high-grade hematite, with a concentration of over 67% Fe (Iron), and an estimated of 3 billion plus metric tons of iron ore resources (Source: Guinea Ministry of Mines and Geology, 2005). In fact, the nearby Pic de Fon iron ore deposit has an estimated 1.2 billion metric tons of iron ore at a grade of about 65% to 68% iron. It is this fact together with the previous tests done in the area that have lead U Mining and its team to believe that this newest concession will soon be regarded as a world-class iron ore resource, and the Simandou region home to Africa’s largest iron ore deposits.”

It is a well known fact that iron ore deposits in Guinea are significant, however they are also remote which is why the French in the 1950’s and later the Chinese in the 1960’s decided against mining in the Simandou area.

In order to access world markets, the ore must be shipped through a thick ecologically fragile rainforest jungle by rail to a sea port.

This is why the proposed Transguinean Railway (graphic below, click to enlarge) is a national infrastructure of major importance to Guinea.

This proposed railway will cross the entire country and will end at Makatang (Makatong in English) a new deep water port.

tgr.jpg

In October 2006, a forum concerning the proposed Transguinean Railway was held in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The invitation to various Governments stated:

SUBJECT: Forum on Proposed Transguinean Railway and Mining Sector, Dusseldorf, October 27-28

Guinean Minister of Mines and Geology Dr. Ousmane Sylla requests the participation of interested U.S. officials and business representatives at a forum on the proposed
Transguinean Railway and Guinea’s mining sector in Dusseldorf, Germany, on October 27-28, 2006.

The proposed Transguinean Railway is directly linked to the future commercial exploitation of major, high-grade iron ore deposits in the remote regions of Mont Nimba and Simandou.

In Dusseldorf, the Guinean Ministry of Mines plans to present the results of the recently completed feasibility studies for the proposed Transguinean Railway as well as the proposed deep-water port at Matakang, south of Conakry.

The Ministry of Mines also plans to use the forum in Dusseldorf to present information on Guinea’s rich and diversified mining sector (bauxite, iron, gold, etc.).

Interestingly, there’s an Australian company which has recently been doing infrastructure roadwork in Guinea on a very large scale and also does rail construction.

It defies logic that a project of this magnitude which UMining claims to be spearheading in a small country such as Guinea would have escaped the attention of local journalists and interested parties.

Therefore, the blog proceeded to Guinean sources such as L’Aurorean online which specializes in Guinea mining “scoops” to unearth any such coverage, no matter how large or small.

A search on l’ Aurore’s website for “Rio Tinto”, a company which has a very large presence in Guinea (it has a 50 year mining concession permit for Simandou ) will generate news items, including one in January 2008.

In fact, it is rather easy to locate information on the Simandou project and companies (Rio Tinto, EuroNimba) operating in Guinea.

However, a similar search for “UMining” and “Comitrag” (U Mining’s majority-owned subsidiary) on the website did not yield ANY results.

The blog attempted to locate information concerning “Umining” and “Comitrag” press release claims concerning this significant project on virtually every news website hosted in Guinea such as:

GuineeNews, conakryonline, Guinea Forum, Guinea Future, Le jour Guinee, Africa Guinee, Guinee Conakry info, Guinee Presse Info, Guinee24.com, L’Indépendant, InfoGuinee, Horoya, La Nouvelle Tribune, L’Observateur, Le BaoBab and l’Enqueteur.

Not a single comment or mention appears on any of these Guinean websites concerning “UMining” and “Comitrag” claims to be working towards an infrastructure contract or mining concessions.

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