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Wreckage of plane carrying mining executives found

Australian foreign
Stephen Smith “’
‘it’s a terrible
Perth, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 22 June 2010 – A French military team will help recover the bodies of the entire board of Australian-based Sundance Resources Limited, including millionaire Ken Talbot, who were killed in a weekend aircraft crash in dense jungle in the Republic of Congo.

Reuters quotes the authorities of Cameroon as saying that Cameroonian search teams found the wreckage of a plane yesterday.

“It will take longer than the families would wish to repatriate the bodies,” Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “We have to brace ourselves for a painstaking period. It’s again a terrible tragedy.”

Six Australian, two British, one American and two French citizens were on the twin turboprop Casa C212 plane that went missing on Saturday on a flight chartered by Sundance from Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to Yangadou in Congo. “There’s no indication of the cause, with no sign of an explosion or fire,” strategic adviser to the company George Jones told the ABC.

“The crash site has been secured, with two Sundance contractors and a representative of the French military remaining with the bodies,” the Perth-based iron ore company said in a statement. The recovery operation resumed at first light as Australian mining contractors began clearing access tracks to the remote location.

Sundance is among companies exploring and building mines in Africa, attracted by its mineral riches, including the world’s biggest deposits of platinum, chrome and diamonds. The company aims to complete an initial study for its US$3.4 billion (R25.5 billion) Mbalam iron-ore project in Cameroon by the end of 2010.

“There’ll be an exhaustive investigation,” said Smith. “But it needs to be coordinated between two jurisdictions and that will have its own difficulties.”

“The search team hasn’t recovered the flight-data recorder known as the black box, which will help determine the cause of the accident,” Cameroon minister of communications Issa Tchiroma Bakary said in Yaounde.