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ESBC Welcomes Resumption Of Take-Over Talks

European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper Ltd Welcomes Resumption of BHP Billiton-Rio Tinto Talks

A deadline imposed by British authorities urges BHP Billiton to decide if they want to make a new take-over bid for Rio Tinto or not until February 6th. This caused rumours that came up in Asia on Monday. BHP Billiton & Rio Tinto were back in talks again.

"A merger between these two big companies may be an intelligent step to solve also the actual problems in Bougainville," said the president of the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper Ltd. (ESBC), Mr. Axel G. Sturm, on Thursday in Andorra.

With 53%, Rio Tinto is the major shareholder of Bougainville Copper Ltd. (BCL). This fact seems to represent still a hindrance for some people on the island that belongs to Papua New Guinea and to its autonomous government ABG. Some people still believe that Rio Tinto was the only responsible for the environmental impact by mining and the unrest that cost the lives of thousands of Bougainvilleans.

A new leadership by BHP Billiton might it make easier to resume mining in the world's third biggest copper-, gold- and silver mine in the next years.

"Until now our board of directors did a very good job," said Mr. Sturm, "but a take-over by BHP might have a positive impact on their excellent work. As most of Bougainvilleans know very well that their prosperity in the future depends on mining, a BHP leadership may be a right step for resuming of mining activities in Bougainville. A take-over of Rio Tinto by Chinese investors would be fatal for Bougainville," said Mr. Sturm.

"Chinese companies are well-known in the world for non-respect of their employees and environmental matters as well. We think that a merger between these two companies that share the same ideals is a benefit for all."


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