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Anvil gets DRC stakeholder approval for Minmetals deal

Kinsevere copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo Anvil Mining Ltd handout

Copper producer Anvil Mining Limited has won approval from its stakeholders in Democratic Republic of Congo to be taken over by China-based Minmetals Resources Ltd. in a deal worth about $1.3-billion.

The Australian mining company — which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange — said it has now received approval from state-owned mining company Gecamines and Mining Company Katanga SPRL, which has a 5 per cent interest in Anvil's Kinsevere Project.

Mining Company Katanga has also agreed to suspend previous legal claims against Anvil in exchange for the waiver of Anvil's pre-emptive rights if Katanga decides to sell its interest.

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China-based Minmetals earlier received Australian government approval for its takeover of Anvil, which has an office in Montreal and lists its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Hong Kong-listed Minmetals Resources is majority owned by China Minmetals Nonferrous Co., Ltd., part of the China Minmetals group.

The deal is part of a Chinese drive to use rich cash reserves to acquire mining and resources companies around the world, including in Canada.

For Minmetals, the pending Anvil agreement comes after failure to finalize other planned Canadian acquisitions.

Earlier this year, Minmetals lost out to Barrick Gold Corp., which outbid the Chinese company for copper producer Equinox Resources.

Anvil has been the subject of a legal challenge and is facing allegations that it provided logistical support to the Congolese military as it moved to crush a rebel uprising in 2004.

In January, Quebec's Court of Appeal overturned a lower-court ruling from April 2011 that had paved the way for a civil suit to be heard in Canada.

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The appeal court ruled on Jan. 24 that Anvil's Montreal office was not involved in any of the decision-making that led to a massacre, making the connection to Quebec tenuous. It also ruled that victims could have sought justice in Congo or Australia, where the company also operates.

A coalition of human-rights groups has it will make a last-ditch plea to the Supreme Court of Canada in an effort to sue a Canadian mining company on behalf of the victims of a massacre in Congo.

The Canadian Association Against Impunity, a coalition of human-rights groups and non-governmental organizations acting on behalf of Congolese citizens, says it's imperative that those people have access to justice in Canada.

The groups allege Anvil provided support though planes, trucks and drivers instrumental in ending the conflict and that as many as 100 people were subsequently killed in the port city of Kilwa. The port was key to the operation of a copper mine, the exit point for $500,000 worth of copper and silver daily.

Anvil has denied any culpability in the Kilwa incidents and said logistical support was requested by authorities.

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