The Republic of Congo has terminated its contract with Australian miner Sundance Resources to develop the massive Mbalam-Nabeba iron-ore deposit and awarded three new permits to a relatively unknown company with Chinese backing. In a decree jointly signed by President Denis Sassou Nguesso and four ministers, the government cited several reasons to withdraw the contract for the iron-ore deposit that straddles the Republic of Congo and Cameroon, including insufficient development and non-payment of rights.
Instead, permits for three areas known as Avima, Nabeba and Bandodo have been awarded to Sangha Mining Development, a company based in the city of Pointe-Noire
The deposit on the Congolese side is estimated to hold at least 500 million tons of the ore.
The Australian miner started operations in northern Congo in 2010 and has invested almost USD 300 million. Sundance has notified the government that it will dispute the withdrawal after hearing of the decision “through informal channels