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by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) June 22, 2012
Australia's Sundance Resources on Friday said the country's foreign investment watchdog had approved its Aus$1.65 billion (US$1.65 billion) takeover by Chinese suitor Sichuan Hanlong Group.
In a statement to the stock exchange the iron ore explorer said the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) had no objection to the Chinese company's proposed acquisition.
Sundance chairman George Jones said FIRB approval represented "another significant step" towards the completion of the deal, which must still be approved by Chinese regulators by June 30.
"The support shown by FIRB will assist Hanlong in obtaining the requisite approvals in China," Sundance said in a statement.
The approval comes despite several former Hanlong executives being probed by Australia's corporate watchdog on claims of insider dealing related to the deal for Sundance, as well as uranium explorer Bannerman.
Hanlong vice-president Calvin Zhu and director Steven Hui Xiao had their assets frozen under a Supreme Court order sought by Australian Securities Investments Commission.
Hanlong made a 50 cents per share bid in July 2011 to take over Perth-based Sundance, an iron ore, copper and gold miner with projects in central Africa, but later sweetened its offer to 57 cents per share.
Under the proposal, Hanlong will buy 100 percent of Sundance shares through a scheme of arrangement.
Beijing's interest in Australia's mining firms has sparked intense debate in the country over whether to allow Chinese state-owned entities to increase their control over its resources.
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