March 2023
China Baowu Group, the world’s largest steelmaker, produced 132Mt of crude steel in 2022, up 10% year on year. The company has been restructuring in recent years with the aim of producing 200Mt of crude steel by 2025, accounting for 15% of the global market.

China Baowu Group, the world’s largest steelmaker, produced 132Mt of crude steel in 2022, up 10% year on year. The company has been restructuring in recent years with the aim of producing 200Mt of crude steel by 2025, accounting for 15% of the global market.

In addition, Baowu is heading a new state-owned company, China Mineral Resources Group (CMRG), which is expected to become the largest iron ore buyer, importing iron ore from 2023 on behalf of ~20 of the largest steel companies in China. The purpose is to increase competitiveness using economies of scale, thus having stronger negotiating power for raw material prices.

Baowu is seeking secure iron ore supply from the global market, especially from Australia. It has a 8.28% interest in Iron Bridge in Western Australia through its subsidiary Baosteel. The Iron Bridge magnetite project is expected to produce 22Mtpa of high quality iron ore concentrate with Fe grade of 67%. The first production will be produced in the March quarter of 2023.

With the trade relationship between China and Australian gradually repairing since the start of the Albanese government in 2022, Baowu is planning to develop two iron ore projects in Western Australia—the 25Mtpa Western Range with Rio Tinto and the 35Mtpa Onslow with Mineral Resources (MinRes).

Furthermore, to diverse its iron ore sources, Baowu Group has been given the green light by Beijing to ensure that first production from the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea by 2025 becomes a reality. In December 2022, Baowu signed an agreement with joint venture partners, including Rio Tinto, regarding developing infrastructure for the project.


Western Range

The Western Range Project is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, approximately 20km southwest from the town of Paraburdoo in the Shire of Ashburton. Rio Tinto and Baowu hold a 54% and 46% interest in the project, respectively.

In September 2022, Rio Tinto and China Baowu Steel Group entered into a joint venture to develop the 25Mtpa Western Range project. The project includes construction of a primary crusher and an 18km conveyor system linking it to the existing Paraburdoo processing plant.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023 with first production anticipated in 2025. The total investment is estimated at US$2bn, with Rio Tinto sharing US$1.3bn and Baowu sharing US$700m.

The project has received all approvals from primary environmental authorities and the Australian Government, including the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

In addition, Rio Tinto and Baowu have also entered into an iron ore sales agreement at market prices, covering a total of up to 126.5Mt of iron ore over 13 years. This volume represents Baowu’s 46% interest in the anticipated 275Mt of production from Western Range through the joint venture.



The Onslow iron ore project is located at the Port of Ashburton in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The project includes the iron mines of Red Hill, Bungaroo South and Kumina.

In August 2022, the joint venture among MinRes, Baowu, AMCI and POSCO, made a final decision to invest in the Red Hill Iron Joint Venture (RHIOJV).  The total investment is estimated at ~ A$3bn (US$2.1bn).

Stage 1 of the project will be limited to the Red Hill Iron ore tenements, excluding Bungaroo South and Kumina. It is expected to have an 18-year mine life on a Red Hill basis, but will be extended out to over 30 years if JV partners contribute deposits (such as Bungaroo South and Kumina).

MinRes will manage development of the project. It will deliver 100% of the mining services to the project under the largest mining services contract in Australia. In addition, the company will build a private 150km haul road, port infrastructure, transhipper wharfs and two Onslow Resorts. The first product is expected to be delivered  by the end of 2023.

Baowu has secured a life-of-mine offtake agreement to purchase 50% of MinRes direct share (57%) of product and has an option to offtake additional 25% of MinRes’ direct share.



Simandou in southwest Guinea is considered to be the world's largest undeveloped high-quality iron ore deposit, with estimated reserves of 2.4Bt of Fe grading 65% iron ore, The deposit is expected to be mined at full capacity of 100Mtpa, of all four blocks are mined concurrently.

It has been estimated the value of Simandou is US$140bn over the next 25 years. In the past, the geographic location has made any exploration of the iron ore difficult due to the remote mountain ranges. The infrastructure required includes a new 550km railway and new multi-user deep-water port. The railway will include two tunnels. A 11km tunnel (Kindia Tunnel) at Madina-Ola subprefecture, and a second 9km tunnel (Mamou tunnel) at Oure-Kaba.

In December 2022, Baowu signed an agreenment with joint venture partners including Rio Tinto on developing infrastructure for the Simandou iron ore project. The agreement is a crucial step for giving China’s regulators the green light to release the capital required for the project. The high-grade iron ore deposits at Simandou will benefit steelmakers who are looking at reducing carbon emissions compared to lower quality iron ore.

The joined parties focus on next steps, including shareholding agreement, cost estimates and funding, and securing all necessary approvals and other permits and agreements. Moreover, Rio Tinto and WCS are committed to developing rail and port infrastructure in line with internationally recognised environmental, social and governance standards.

Construction of the tunnels has commenced in June 2021 with completion date of January 2024. Other challenges of building the railway included 235 bridges and 1,000 culverts. The deep-water port will be developed in Matakong, Forecariah prefecture. With expected iron ore exports of approximately 68 capsize voyages a year.


Other Projects


The Hardey project is located in the West Pilbara, Western Australia. owned by the Australian Premium Iron (API) joint venture, with Baosteel accounting for 42.5%, Mineral Resources for 7.5%, AMCI for 25.5% and POSCO for 24.5%.

The development of the Hardey project was originally estimated at A$10.3bn (U$7.4bn). However, the cost will likely dwindle as the developers have agreed to use the Roy Hill railway, port and other infrastructure for exports, reducing the need to build new rail line.

The project is estimated to contain over 150Mt of ore with Fe content of above 60%, which is expected to yield around 95Mt of product. The developers expect to produce the first iron ore at the end of 2023.



Bomi iron ore mine is located in Bomi county, Liberia. In 2012, Hong Kong Baoyu acquired the exploration licence for the Bomi mine. The company is a joint venture established by Baosteel Resources (50.1%), a subsidiary of Baowu, with Henan International Cooperation Group (CHICO, 40%) and China-Africa Development Fund (9.9%) .

According to reports, the Bomi Mine has 60% and above high-grade iron ore reserves of 12Mt, and 30%-40% of low-grade iron ore reserves are hundreds of millions of tonnes. According to an announcement from Baosteel Resources in 2015, the Bomi Mine estimated direct transport of iron in accordance with JORC guidelines.

The ore amounted to 390Mt, with an average grade of 58.06%; the resource amount was 520Mt, with an average grade of more than 36%. The planned open-pit mining will produce 7Mtpa of iron ore, with a mine life of 20 years.



The Bong mine is located in the southwestern part of Bong County, Liberia, about 150km north of the capital city Monrovia. Wuhan Iron and Steel (a subsidiary of Baowu) is the project's major shareholder (60%) through its subsidiary China Union Mining Company, with 25 years mining licence for the project. The project hosts resources of over 1.3Bt with Fe grade of 36%, potentially increase to 4Bt.