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China Firm to Acquire Major African Mine

BEIJING -- A privately owned Chinese company is finalizing the acquisition of an Australian mining firm that controls a major iron ore mine in west Africa, a move that would give China a stronger role in setting global iron ore prices, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.

Xinhua, citing officials from Hanlong Group, said Hanlong plans to complete the acquisition of Sundance Resources Ltd. for 45 Australian cents (50 cents) per share by March 1, after submitting paperwork to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Calls to Hanlong's headquarters in southwestern China's Sichuan province went unanswered Saturday.

Sundance controls the Mbalam iron ore mine, which straddles Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

Hanlong is seeking a partnership with Chinese state-owned companies and investing $5 billion to develop the Mbalam project and to build a 550-kilometer (340-mile) railway and a shipping port, Xinhua said. Operations are expected to begin in 2014, it said.

As the world's second-largest economy, China is eager to acquire overseas assets and resources to feed its rapid growth.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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