Kumar Mangalam crosses legal hurdle in Australia copper mine

Kolkata, Nov 27 | Updated: Nov 28 2006, 09:16am hrs
Aditya Birla group has resolved a legal crisis over the ownership of a copper mine in Australia.

While 50% of the mine in Maroochydore in Western Australia was acquired way back in 2003 which followed an announcement by Kumar Mangalam Birla then, objection raised by creditors of one of the existing partners in the project to the partial sale of the asset prevented the Birlas from working on the mine.

The AV Birla group has just received the clearance from the Australian partner following which Birla Minerals Resouces Ltd, the Australian arm of the AV Birla group, will now start mining activities, top level officials of the groups mining division told FE.

Birla Maroochydore Private Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMRL, acquired 50% stake of Straits Exploration (Australia) Pty Ltd in its Maroochydore joint venture for Aussi $10 million, Kumar Mangalam Birla had announced in 2003.

Despite the acquisition, the AV Birla group couldnt start working on the mines following objections raised by the creditors of Murchison group-owned Renison Bell Ltd, which was controlling the Maroochydore mine along with Straits Resources.

The consent from Murchison for purchase of Straits stake in the mine was recently received by us. Following the removal of the legal impediments, drilling for resource confirmation and metallurgical test would commence soon, the official said.

The development, according to sources, follows a successful meeting of the creditors of Renison Bell held in Tasmania during which a resolution was passed to approve amending the deed of company arrangement so that interest in Maroochydore project is kept aside. This will enable Renison Bell to transfer the interest in Maroochydore to the AV Birla group JV. Apart from Maroochydore, the AV Birla group had acquired two other copper mines in Australia: Mt Gordon Copper mine in Queensland and Nifty open pit mine.

The Birlas have already mined 7.70 lakh tonne of ore from the Nifty mines.