Rio Tinto’s board has reportedly indicated its support for the company’s plans to develop the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.

On Friday, the company’s outgoing chairman Simon Thompson during the annual general meeting in London, said that the board has given in-principle approval to the path forward for the project, wrote Bloomberg’s Thomas Biesheuvel.

The latest news about the project follows an agreement made last month between Guinea’s ruling junta, Rio Tinto, and a Chinese-backed consortium to restart the development works at the Simandou iron ore deposit.

Although Rio Tinto’s has lent its support, there is no guarantee yet on whether the project will move ahead, as per the report in the publication. The full approval of the board will have to wait for more details pertaining to costs and the infrastructure agreement.

Once fully up and running, the Simandou iron ore mine is estimated to produce 100 million tonnes of iron ore per year. With over four billion tonnes of ore, the mine is touted to be among the largest undeveloped high grade iron ore deposits in the world.

Legal disputes, political instability, and other factors meant that the Simandou deposit is still to be exploited although several years have gone by following its discovery in 2002.

The mine is located in the Simandou mountain range in south-eastern Guinea. Its commercial production is expected to start by 31 March 2025, as per the country’s Mines Minister Moussa Magassouba.