For years, the huge iron deposits under Guinea’s mountainous jungle were practically forgotten by the mining industry. Caught up in wrangles between owners and authorities in the West African nation, it seemed the super-rich ore might never be dug up. That all changed in 2019, as investors from billionaire promoter Robert Friedland to legendary dealmaker Mick Davis converged on the country in a modern-day resource rush.

For the first time in years, projects such as Simandou — Guinea’s crown-jewel deposit — might finally be developed. That would have huge implications for Guinea, which is facing political upheaval as President Alpha Condé pushes for a third term, and the global iron ore industry. The new tonnes threaten to arrive just as steel demand is cooling, and the high-quality iron ore buried in Guinea will pile pressure on existing miners...

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