Simandou iron ore fight could be settled out of court

Vale said it might consider settling the Simandou iron ore fight with Rio Tinto out of court.

Rio claims that BSG Resources stole the mining rights for Simandou blocks 1 and 2 in 2008 and later entered an agreement with Vale who had already obtained propriety knowledge, after Rio spent more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars in developing the site.

In its filed complaint, Rio stated that negotiations between it and Vale started in 2008, and Rio provided the information regarding Simandou.

It stated that “as Vale quickly surmised, gaining control of the Simandou deposit would strengthen Vale's position in the world's high-grade iron ore market, since the only other comparable source is Vale's own Carajas Iron Ore Mine in Brazil”.

The miner went on to state that Vale and BSRG “entered into a conspiracy to misappropriate Rio Tinto’s Simandou rights” and used a campaign of bribery to do so.

It stated that Vale and BSGR then paid a $200 million bribe to the Guinean minister of mines, Mahmoud Thiam, for his assistance in “unlawfully securing Rio Tinto’s Simandou rights”.

Following the revelation of this information, the Guinean Government revoked all of BSGR and Vale’s mining licences for both the Simandou and Zogota concessions in the country.

According to Dow Jones, Vale’s general counsel Clovis Torres said the miner may be willing to settle the case out of court, but "never as an acceptance of guilt."

"What may be even more absurd than this lawsuit is the high cost of legal processes in the US," Torres said.

"So to avoid the additional absurdity of incurring even more costs, we could without a doubt think of something along those lines."

BSG Resources has denied the allegations as has Guinea’s former mines minister.

"I'm not in a settling mood," Thiam said.

"I'll exact my pound of flesh before this process ends."

BSGR has begun arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes against the Government of Guina and its president, Alpha Conde for stripping the company of the resource.

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