Rio Tinto has filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against numerous defendants, including Vale and BSG Resources.

The Complaint relates to the loss of half of Rio Tinto’s mining concession in the Simandou region of south-east Guinea in 2008. Rio Tinto is asking the Court to award compensatory, consequential, exemplary and punitive damages to Rio Tinto in an amount to be determined at trial.

Simandou is one of world’s largest untapped iron ore deposits. Located in the west African nation of Guinea, Simandou provides access to billions of tonnes of high-grade iron ore. With a mine life forecast to run more than a generation, the Simandou deposit has the potential to make Guinea one of the world’s top iron ore exporters.

Rio Tinto was granted a Mining Concession to Simandou in 2006. This complaint, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, details illegal activity which led to it being stripped of the northern half of the concession, relating to blocks one and two, in 2008. The licence for the northern part of the concession was then granted to VBG, now owned by BSG Resources (BSGR) and Vale. Vale acquired its 51 per cent interest from BSGR for $2.5 billion in 2010.

The complaint is not against the Government of Guinea. Rio Tinto and the Government signed a Settlement Agreement in 2011 that relates to the southern concession of Simandou, known as blocks three and four, and is the location of Rio Tinto’s declared iron ore resources in Guinea. Rio Tinto and the government continue to work cooperatively on the project.

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