Rio Tinto’s fight with Vale over massive iron ore mine falls at first hurdle – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – November 23, 2015)

How apt that a failed racketeering case by World Wrestling Entertainment sets a critical benchmark in a New York court’s refusal to allow Rio Tinto to continue its case for criminal damages against fellow iron ore major Vale and its allies in Guinean grubbiness.

Others tarred by Rio’s sensational racketeering allegations against its Brazilian competitor number an Israeli billionaire, Benny Steinmetz, a former mines minister of Guinea, the third wife of one of its deceased presidents and a bloke who is currently in a Florida jail as a result of bribes paid to her in the US.

The nub of the Rio case was (and will be again given the likelihood of appeal) that Vale “secretly” worked with a Steinmetz company called BSGR to steal rights to two iron ore mining tenements in Guinea.

The assets in question are for blocks one and two of the Simandou​ concession, which is unquestionably the greatest undeveloped iron ore deposit in the world. In December 2008, the Guinean government took those blocks away from Rio and delivered them to BSGR. In April 2010, Vale emerged unexpectedly as BSGR’s partner and the development plan they set upon looked a whole lot like the one Rio had developed after spending $US3 billion over 17 years of hard work in a hard country.

In May last year Rio went to a New York court with a claim that the 2010 arrangement and all that preceded it represented an “enterprise to defraud” the Anglo-Australian company of its legal rights and that left it a violation of the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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