Court dismisses Rio Tinto suit against BSGR, Vale over Guinea iron-ore mine – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – November 24, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

ROME — A New York judge handed Israeli diamond billionaire Beny Steinmetz a rare victory by dismissing Rio Tinto PLC’s claim that he and Brazilian mining giant Vale SA conspired to steal the world’s biggest undeveloped iron ore project, in Guinea, from Rio.

Judge Richard Berman of the U.S. District Court in New York dismissed the civil racketeering case against the defendants on a technicality; he ruled that Rio had waited too long to launch its case, which was filed in 2014.

He agreed with the defendants that the four-year statute of limitations began in 2008, when the Guinean government stripped Rio of half of Guinea’s rich Simandou iron ore deposit and handed it to BSG Resources (BSGR), a company affiliated with Mr. Steinmetz.

In a statement, Rio said “Judge Berman’s decision was focused on a narrow point of law and did not rule out the evidence Rio Tinto has been gathering in the case. Rio is free to appeal Judge Berman’s decision and pursue its claims in other forums, and is actively looking at all options.”

But BSGR said the case “represents a significant victory for BSGR” and hinted strongly that it would use the decision to sue Rio, the world’s second-biggest mining company and owner of Montreal’s Alcan, for damages.

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