Congo, Cameroon Create Mbalam Iron-Ore Supervising Team

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | October 2, 2012 4:50 PM EST

With the owner of the Mbalam iron-ore project straddled in a still inconclusive takeover bid, the republics of Congo and Cameroon have created a joint team to supervise the management of the iron ore deposits that are located along their common border.

According to a statement from the Congolese Ministry of Mines and Geology issued over the weekend, Congo and Cameroon, after a two-day dialogue between their respective mining experts, established a committee to oversee the iron ore mineral deposits found in Nabemba, northern Congo and Mbalam.

"Both sides have agreed to collaborate and combine their efforts to remove all obstacles that may delay or compromise the achievement of this project," the statement, which was signed by Congo Mines Minister Pierre Oba and Louis-Paul Motaze, general secretary in the Cameroonian prime minister's office, said.

It noted the two countries will likewise sign a bilateral agreement that will pave the way for an established legal framework for the joint operations in the succeeding days.

As part of the initial agreement, Congo will begin effecting the first phase of exploitation works in the northern part of the country, where the minerals will be transported through the Cameroonian railway and then shipped via the deepwater port of Kribi (Cameroon).

The Mbalam iron-ore project is owned by Australia's Sundance Resources Ltd., which is up for a takeover by China's Sichuan Hanlong Group for $1.4 billion. Part of Sundance's plans on the project include a 510-kilometer (317-mile) rail line that will connect the Mbarga mine in Cameroon and the Nabeba mine in Congo to the coast of Cameroon, and a deep-water iron-ore export terminal.

Cameroon is located on the northern side of Congo.

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