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Rio Tinto says able to weather Chinese slowdown
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) March 5, 2012

Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto said Monday it was strongly placed to weather a Chinese economic growth slowdown after Beijing forecast expansion would slow sharply in 2012.

Sam Walsh, chief executive of the world's second-largest iron ore miner, downplayed investor worries that Rio Tinto may be facing a market oversupplied with iron ore.

"Our low-cost operations combined with our proximate distance from China and the Asian market gives us a significant advantage (compared to other miners)," Walsh told reporters in New Delhi.

China, whose fast-growing economy has been a huge iron ore consumer, earlier on Monday slashed its growth target for 21012 to 7.5 percent from 9.2 percent in 2011 and 10.4 percent in 2010.

It would mark the third straight year of slowing growth for China as the world's number two economy is buffeted by ongoing troubles in the West and high oil prices.

Walsh was speaking after attending a meeting of Australian and Indian business leaders in New Delhi to discuss ways to liberalise trade between the two countries.

The global mining company was trading down 2.57 percent at 3,468.50 pence on the London Stock Exchange on the back of the fall in China's growth estimate.

Rio Tinto has been ramping up its iron ore output in Western Australia even as metals analysts have been warning that the globe could face an oversupply of iron ore with many major producers planning to increase production.

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Ecuadorans protest China mine project at embassy
Quito (AFP) March 5, 2012 - Environmental activists staged a peaceful demonstration at the embassy of China Monday to protest a contract between Ecuador and a Chinese company to mine copper in the Amazon, an activist said.

Yvonne Yanez, leader of the group Ecologist Action, said 10 women from a variety of groups went to the embassy to deliver a letter opposing the contract, which was to be signed later Monday with Ecuacorriente (ECSA), a Chinese-financed mining company.

She said the activists entered the embassy without incident, and that the women were waiting inside to deliver the letter to the ambassador, who had not appeared. About 50 other activists were outside the diplomatic mission.

ECSA plans to extract 2.3 million tons of copper from the mine in the Condor range in southeastern Ecuador, in an area that the protesters say is one of the country's most biodiverse.

The mining company's work "will affect for all time the territory of indigenous people and nature," the letter said.

"We reject the signing of the contract... without approval of an environmental impact study and without the knowledge of indigenous communities," it said.


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SciTechTalk: Risks to 'virtual wallets?'
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 04, 2012
Waving your phone at the checkout counter will make it easier than ever to pay for your puchases, but will it be safe? That's one of the big questions about the latest "must-have" technology for top-end smartphones, near field communication, or NFC, which allows phones to establish radio communication with each other, or with similar devices such as point-of sale terminals, when they to ... read more

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