DIVERSIFIED resources miner Rio Tinto sees Africa as its next growth catalyst, with the Simandou iron-ore project in Guinea as its flagship project.

"We have a long history of projects on the continent ... This has given us the foundation for lasting partnerships which can be established," said Alan Davies, CE for diamonds and minerals at the Australian-based miner, at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday.

However, he added that the company required a safe environment with acceptable commercial terms.

Rio Tinto, which operates in seven African countries, recently suffered a $14bn impairment on its expansion projects, which resulted in the resignation of three of its top executives.

Of that amount, $3bn is related to its coking coal assets in Mozambique, as a result of the lack of adequate infrastructure.

At Simandou, Rio was developing a 650km railway to complement the development of the iron-ore project, that, once in full production, was expected to add to the country’s gross domestic product, Mr Davies said.

In January, Tom Albanese became the latest resources multinational head to depart after Rio announced the $14bn writedown in failed acquisitions.

Last year, Rio sold its Chapudi coking coal assets in Limpopo to JSE-listed Coal of Africa (CoAL) for $52m. CoAL aims to develop into a substantial coking coal producer.

Rio Tinto chief financial officer Doug Ritchie also stepped down last month.

The company said at the time that Mr Ritchie and Mr Albanese would not receive any lump-sum payments or bonuses on their departures.

New Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh led the iron-ore division for nine years.