The end came as a bitter finale to the decades-old story of conspiracy and tragedy. Sundance Resources, a Perth-based minnow minnow located high in the mountains that straddle the border between Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, saw its future disappear in accusations of deception and corruption. After more than six months of controversy
The end came as a bitter finale to the decades-old story of conspiracy and tragedy.
Sundance Resources, a Perth-based minnow minnow located high in the mountains that straddle the border between Cameroon and the Republic of the Congo, saw its future disappear in accusations of deception and corruption.
After more than six months of controversy with the Congolese government and threats of legal action, Sundance boss Julio Casero is a Australian-registered company with ties to his former partner, the Chinese government. I realized I was afraid that I had robbed my major assets.
Working with another group related to Beijing, it has deprived West Africa of the right to develop one of West Africa’s most promising iron ore deposits, the Mubaram-Naveba project, which has been the main focus of Sundance for over 15 years. It was.
“The Government of Cameroon has refused to enter into force our mining license and is currently working with the Government of Congo to deprive us of our rights to the Mbalam-Naveba project, doing nothing and spending nothing on either. It seems that they are giving them to their Chinese partners. The country, “said Mr. Casero, who was furious.
That is not entirely correct. While these particular companies may not have invested in two West African countries, Beijing has long turned to the resource-rich and poor countries scattered along the Atlantic coast.
Sundance, whose history has been confirmed in the area, bribed President Congo and the current Minister of Mining in the face of an investigation of allegations by the Australian Federal Police, but was suddenly stripped of mining rights in Congo. It’s not just Australian companies.
help? Or the impact of the purchase?
They call it “debt-trap diplomacy.”
Simple credit was extended on favorable terms if other countries did not, or if global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund insisted on strict reform measures such as grafting and eradicating corruption.
But the time has come for the debt to be repaid. And that doesn’t necessarily mean paying back cash. In some cases, other means of repayment will be required.
China is not the first country to adopt this as an imperial strategy. But when it comes to Africa, it has transformed tactics into a form of art.
Beijing is the largest lender to Africa. As the table below shows, when it comes to the Republic of the Congo, China supplies 80% of the country’s borrowing, which is about 25% of Congo’s GDP. Neighboring Cameroon is in a similar situation..
Direct loans are not the only way to provide cash. One of the more controversial practices is to secure distributions for long-term mining projects where companies owned by the Chinese government benefit from everything.
In 2017, Guinea negotiated a $ 20 billion exchange deal with China, and Beijing promised to provide infrastructure, road networks, sanitation and university buildings.
The trade-off was that a group of companies related to the Chinese government (China Henan International, Chalco, China Power and Investment) had obtained a mining permit and agreement for two huge bauxite deposits that are the raw material for aluminum.
Guinea is also home to one of the world’s most abundant iron ore deposits. We’ll talk more about this later.
In the four years to 2018, Beijing recorded $ 164 billion ($ 218 billion) worth of such transactions across Africa. According to the Natural Resource Governance Institute, a non-profit organization Such transactions often bypass the country’s government and budget, delivering far more to China than the host country...
Sundance and the heart of darkness
In late December, Sundance Resources and two other Australian mining companies, Equatorial Resources and privately owned Core Mining Congo, suddenly noticed the cold.
All three have been stripped of their mining licenses by the Congolese government. All three licenses have since been granted to a newly created group called Sangha Mining, which has no past history and no clear background in the region.
The combined ore was huge, about 1 billion tons of high-grade ore. Former wallaby and managing director of the equator, John Wellborn, described Congo’s arbitrary behavior as “unprecedented, illegal and unfair.”
The deception was obvious when the dust finally settled last week. Aust Sino, a former Sundance partner who shared a detailed plan, left with a prize.
AustSino plans to develop a mine and build a 510 km rail line and deep sea port in Kribi, Cameroon, with its new partner, Bestway Finance, a Hong Kong-based private company. This is a task that has so far avoided sundancing.
Sundance is controversial. Five years ago it was being investigated by AFP for the 2006 claim, It donated shares to the family of President Dennis Sasnugesso of Congo and the family of Minister of Resources Pierre Oba.
Research Not confirmed yet.. And the accusation goes back to previous management.Whole sundance board Died in a plane crash More than 10 years ago in the thick jungle near the border between Congo and Cameroon.
Oba is certainly no longer a fan of Sundance. After granting the company a mining permit in 2012, he backtracked last week and issued a statement made by Sundance and others. “Treading on our law, not respecting our state, and confusing the practice of signing with them with our law.”..
Sundance boss Casero was rugged.
Guinea, China, Rio Tinto
Guinea, 3000 km north of Congo, is one of the most abundant and largest iron ore deposits in the world and, like Congo, is now the center of Beijing’s ruling class.
The Simandou project, deep inside Guinea near the Sierra Leone border, was awarded to Rio Tinto in 1997. However, 1 ounce of iron ore has not yet been produced. The project is constantly in turmoil, with regular outbreaks of Ebola, political instability, high costs, and ongoing corruption.
In 2008, an executive order stripped Rio of half of his rights, causing a long and fierce battle to regain them. Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz, who was awarded half a share in a controversial situation, was recently convicted of corruption in a Swiss court on the case he was to appeal. It was.
Now back in the saddle, the project is scheduled to begin production by 2025 and is often touted as a Pilbara killer, a threat to Australia’s dominant position in the iron ore trade.
The project requires a huge investment of nearly $ 20 billion on a 600-kilometer rail link hugging the border with Liberia and a deep-sea port.
However, Rio has deep pockets and many influential partners.
Chinalco, a resource giant backed by the Chinese government and the world’s third-largest aluminum producer, owns nearly 40% of Simandou, Rio controls 45%, and the rest is the Guinean government.
Chinalco is also Rio Tinto’s largest shareholder with a 14.99% stake. It launched itself in Rio during the global financial crisis when an Australian company was facing a debt-induced crisis.
Wayne Swan, a treasurer at the time, banned Beijing-linked groups from owning more than 15% and banned Chinalco from appointing directors, thereby empowering Beijing on Australia’s resource industry. Limited.
Still, it didn’t stop trying to close the deal to secure the marketing and half-ownership of Rio’s most valuable Pilbara mine. The deal was terminated behind the scenes by BHP with later angry Rio shareholders.
But as tensions between Canberra and Beijing continue to grow, China’s battle for resource security will intensify. If the recent tactics in Congo are any sign, so is the determination to keep Australia and its interests out as much as possible.
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