London — China is close to giving the go-ahead for some of its biggest state-owned companies to develop the giant Simandou iron ore mine in Guinea, potentially paving the way for the project to be built after years of legal wrangling.

China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), which oversees the biggest government-owned enterprises, is  pushing forward with the project, the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposit, according to people familiar with the plans who asked not to be identified as the talks are private...

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