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Iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest appears to have opened another front on his restless ambitions with reports that he has formed a joint venture with the leading member of Dubai’s ruling family aimed at resuscitating a railway line that links Guinea with neighbouring Liberia’s main port.
The Liberia port of Buchanan has long been assessed by prospective Guinean iron ore pioneers such as Rio Tinto, BHP and, most recently, a new private entity run by former Xtrata boss Sir Mick Davis, as the most cost-efficient export gateway for iron ore mined in Guinea.
But the existing rail pathway has long fallen into disrepair as a result of under-investment triggered by generations of civil war and political conflict.
Few other than Forrest understand the importance of railways to new iron ore provinces and over the weekend he was a signatory witness to a memorandum of understanding with the Liberian government that was formally signed by Sheikh Ahmen Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum.
The Sheikh is the very entrepreneurial vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates who has driven the growth of Emirates Airlines and global port operator DP World but is probably better known in Australia for his ownership of the Godolphin stables.
This article first appeared on www.afr.com
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