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Vol 5 (AAC) No 4

Published 1st February 2012


China loses Bélinga

After four years of tough renegotiations, China’s deal of the century is finally cancelled

Australia's BHP Billiton has won the rights to the US$5 billion Bélinga iron ore project from China Machinery Engineering Corporation. BHP and the Gabonese Mining Ministry agreed a deal in principle on 3 February and the details will be finalised later this month at a meeting in South Africa. President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba’s governing Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG) thus cuts the ground from beneath the Chinese contractors who were to invest hugely in port, rail and related infrastructure to mine, process and export the 1 bn. tonnes of iron ore found at Bélinga. The Bélinga deal ranks among the most tortuous agreements by Chinese state-owned corporations in Africa.

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