Judge turns down Vale bid to dismiss Rio Tinto lawsuit in U.S.
A U.S. District Court rejected Wednesday Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE) bid to dismiss a lawsuit alleging it conspired with Israeli billionaire Benjamin Steinmetz to steal Rio Tinto’s (LON:RIO) rights for the vast Simandou iron ore reserve in Guinea.
The lawsuit, which pits two of the world's biggest mining companies against each other in an uncommonly public battle, will be dealt with in the U.S. and not in the UK as Vale has requested, Judge Richard Berman of Manhattan decided, Courthouse News Service reported.
The judge also mentioned other reasons for the lawsuit to remain in New York, including Vale's meetings in the city related to the alleged conspiracy, and an ongoing federal probe related to Guinea rights.
Rio claims it lost billions of dollars in assets and investments made before its Simandou rights were revoked, arguing it is entitled to "treble" damages.
The lawsuit was filed in April, days after a Guinean government investigation concluded that Steinmetz's BSG Resources had obtained rights to Simandou by improper means. As a result of the inquiry, Guinea revoked the concession from BSG Resources and Vale.
BSG Resources has denied wrongdoing and filed an arbitration request in an attempt to win compensation from the Western African nation for stripping it of its rights. Steinmetz has previously called the Guinean probe's findings a smear campaign against him.