Rio Tinto share price dips on US$6.2 billion project development costs

Rio Tinto expects first production from its Simandou iron ore project in 2025.

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The Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) share price is in the red on Wednesday.

Shares in the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) iron ore closed yesterday trading for $125.60. In morning trade on Wednesday, shares are swapping hands for $125.07 apiece, down 0.4%.

For some context, the ASX 200 is up 0.3% at this same time.

This comes on the heels of the miner's 2023 investor seminar alongside an update on its Simandou iron ore project, located in Guinea.

Here's what's happening.

What did the ASX 200 miner report?

The Rio Tinto share price is edging lower following an update at the company's investor seminar on its Simandou project, reportedly the world's largest untapped high-grade iron ore deposit.

The Simfer joint venture project is being progressed in partnership with CIOH, a Chinalco-led consortium, Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS), Baowu and the Republic of Guinea.

As at 31 December, the Simfer joint venture's mine concession held an estimated Total Mineral Resource of 2.8 billion tonnes.

Today, the Rio Tinto share price is slipping after the miner reported on the conversion of an estimated 1.5 billion tonnes to Ore Reserves, supporting a mine life of 26 years, with an average grade of 65.3% iron and low impurities.

Rio Tinto also reported Mineral Resources exclusive of Ore Reserves of 1.4 billion tonnes at 66.1% Fe and low impurities.

The ASX 200 iron ore miner expects its initial share of capital expenditure to develop the Simfer mine and the co-developed rail and port infrastructure project will be around US$6.2 billion out of the initial joint venture total capex of $11.6 billion.

Commenting on the progress, Rio Tinto executive committee lead for Guinea and copper chief executive Bold Baatar said:

We are continuing to work closely with the Government of Guinea, Chinalco, Baowu and WCS towards full sanction of this world class project by all partners.

Simandou will deliver a significant new source of high-grade iron ore that will strengthen Rio Tinto's portfolio for the decarbonisation of the steel industry, along with trans-Guinean rail and port infrastructure that can make a significant contribution to the country's economic development.

Rio Tinto expects first production from the Simfer mine in 2025, ramping up over 30 months to an annualised capacity of 60 million tonnes per year, of which Rio Tinto's share will be 27 million tonnes.

Separately at the investor seminar, Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm focused on other parts of the miner's operations. He noted, "The performance at our Pilbara iron ore and Oyu Tolgoi copper operations shows our path towards becoming best operator, and we are focussed on driving continuous improvement across our global portfolio."

Stausholm added:

We are making real progress in shaping our portfolio for the future, through entering new markets like recycled aluminium in North America, developments in technology and one of the most exciting exploration pipelines we've had for many years.

Rio Tinto share price snapshot

Amid a resilient iron ore price, the Rio Tinto share price has been a strong performer in 2023, up 9%.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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