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Sign Mick Davis, former head of the mining group Xstrata, has severed ties with Niron Metals, the investment vehicle he founded to build a large iron-ore deposit in Guinea.
According to the company House filing, Davis, who was chairman of Niron, stopped being a director this month and is no longer the person with “significant control” of the private company.
Former Conservative Party chief executive Davis, better known as “Mick the Minor,” is one of the industry’s most recognizable names.
After leaving Xstastra, he set up X2 Resources, a mining vehicle that kept promises of billions of dollars from investors but ultimately failed to make a deal.
Niron was registered in the UK in 2018 and a year later it was asked to develop iron ore deposits provided by the BSGR, a mining group controlled by the family of Israeli diamond trader Benny Steinmetz.
The deal is part of a larger deal between the BSGR and the Guinean government that helped end a long-running dispute over mining rights in the resource-rich West African country, where President Alpha Conde was ousted in a coup this month.
According to people familiar with the situation, the decision to sever ties with Davis Neron was made before Condy was ousted. They said it had come to Davis’s view that it could take many years for Niron to dismantle the Zeroga iron ore market and that he wanted to focus on other projects.
Earlier this year, Davis launched a fund to invest in battery metals. The car, called Vision Blue Resources, made its first investment in February and also helped launch the m 100 million special purpose car listed in New York.
Guinea has the world’s highest grade of iron ore, including giant Simando deposits. But the country has failed to harness its natural grace.
A Chinese-backed consortium has begun work on a 650-kilometer Trans-Guinea railway that will connect Simandu and potential other mines to a deep-water port on the coast. However, it may take several years to complete.
Niron signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019 to transport an iron ore to an existing railway line used by Arkel Mittal in the port of Buchanan via its iron ore neighbor Liberia. It later completed a feasibility study on the Jogota deposit, which was distributed to the Guinean government a year ago.
But plans to export iron ore through Liberia are dubious. ArcelorMittal and Monrovia recently announced a new mineral development agreement in which the steelmaker will triple its iron ore production at its Liberia’s Yekepa mine and invest an additional $ 800 million.
Niron said it continues to explore a sustainable, long-term logistics solution to unleash the full potential of the Jogota project for the benefit of all stakeholders.
“We thank Sir Mick for his valuable leadership and insight into his decision.” “Sir Mick was instrumental in the development of Niron and in re-evaluating the potential of Guinea’s iron ore industry. We wish him well in his future endeavors. ”
Niron’s other directors include Marcos Camhis, manager of the Greek Fund, and Varda Shine, former head of the diamond business at De Beers.