Hogan Lovells advises China Baowu on the largest mining and infrastructure project in Africa
Global law firm Hogan Lovells is advising its longstanding client, the world’s largest steelmaker, China Baowu Steel Group (Baowu) on its investment in the Simandou mining and infrastructure project in the Republic of Guinea, which reportedly stands as the largest mining and infrastructure project in Africa.
Simandou is the largest undeveloped, high-grade iron ore reserve in the world. The project encompasses four mining blocks, two ports, and a 600+ km railway line crossing the entire country connecting the mines to the ports. The multi-user railway infrastructure is expected to provide connectivity to passengers, small businesses and other industrial users across the country and will have a transformative impact on the Guinean economy.
The owners of the mines and the co-developers of the infrastructure are Winning Consortium Simandou (WCS, a consortium comprising Asian investors including Winning International Group and Shandong Weiqiao Pioneering Group) and Simfer (a joint venture between mining giant Rio Tinto and a consortium of Chinese investors led by Chinalco, the world's largest aluminium producer). In September and October 2023, supported by the Guinean State, Baowu, WCS and Simfer signed their investment agreements and related documentation.
To assist Baowu on this deal, Hogan Lovells have deployed a global cross-practice and cross-office team comprising dozens of lawyers led by Liang Xu (M&A partner, Beijing) from the firm's Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Paris and Washington D.C. offices, supported also by colleagues from Germany and Poland.
Liang Xu commented: "The Simandou project is of strategic importance for Baowu, being the largest unexploited high-grade iron ore project in the world. It will have a profound impact on the Guinean economy and provide immense opportunities for its people. We are hugely proud to support Baowu in making this project a reality. Our cross-practice, cross-office team is adept at handling the complexities of this transaction. We will continue our work with Baowu and the other partners to bring the project to a successful closing."
This deal, and the composition of the Hogan Lovells team, is a testament to the firm's ability to work seamlessly as a single integrated team across offices and practice groups. It also fits within the firm's strategy and vision in China and Africa, with the mining and infrastructure sectors at its core.