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China firm to buy Australian miner: report


A privately owned Chinese company is finalising the acquisition of an Australian mining firm that controls a major iron ore mine in west Africa, China's official Xinhua News Agency reports.

The move would give China a stronger role in setting global iron ore prices.

Xinhua, citing officials from Hanlong Group, based in southwestern China's Sichuan province, said on Saturday Hanlong plans to complete the acquisition of Sundance Resources Ltd for 45 cents (50 US cents) per share by March 1, after submitting paperwork to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Sundance controls the Mbalam iron ore mine, which straddles Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

Hanlong is seeking a partnership with Chinese state-owned companies and investing $US5 billion ($A4.84 billion) to develop the Mbalam project and to build a 550-kilometre railway and a shipping port, Xinhua said.

Operations are expected to begin in 2014, Xinhua said.

As the world's second-largest economy, China is eager to acquire overseas assets and resources to feed its rapid growth.

The prospect of a takeover appeared remote earlier this month following news that Hanlong wanted to delay the bid because it could not secure funding by December 13, AAP reported.