Decision in Rio Tinto’s case against Vale over Simandou imminent— report
A verdict in Rio Tinto’s (LON:RIO) lawsuit against Vale (NYSE:VALE) and BSG Resources over an alleged conspiracy between the two competitors to steal its rights over the world’s biggest untapped iron-ore deposit in Guinea, is expected to come in about two weeks.
Brazilian news site Noticiasdemineracao.com (in Portuguese) says the New York court must decide by September whether or not it accepts Vale and BSGR request to dismiss the case, which pits two of the world’s biggest mining companies against each other in an uncommonly public battle.
A previous attempt by Vale to have the lawsuit dismissed was rejected in December. At the time, U.S. Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman also said no to the Brazilian company’s argument that the suit should be brought in an English court.
The lawsuit was filed in April 2014, 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.
Vale “hiding evidence”
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.
Earlier this month the case turned nastier, with Rio’s lawyers claiming that Vale had systematically destroyed “untold” evidence involving eight “critical witnesses”.
According to Australia’s Business Review, such evidence includes documents outlining Vale-BSGR plan to use a Liberian railway and port to export the Guinean iron ore. Rio says the idea was stolen by Vale from a data room opened in late 2008 to allow the Rio de Janeiro-based miner assess whether it wanted to acquire Simandou.