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China supports commercial cooperation with Australia
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The Chinese government supports cooperation between Chinese and Australian companies in such areas as trade, economy, energy and mining resources, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Tuesday.

Qin said at a press conference that mutually beneficial cooperation was in the interests of both China and Australia.

In response to a question about a deal between OZ Minerals and China's Minmetals, Qin said the issue was a matter of cooperative intent expressed by the two companies who had carried out negotiations in line with their own needs and the rules of the market economy.

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said in a statement last Friday that Minmetals' takeover bid for OZ Minerals would not go ahead if it included the Prominent Hill mine in a military weapons testing site. But he said talks were continuing between Minmetals and Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.

The Australian government would consider alternative proposals relating to the Australian miner's other businesses and assets, Swan said.

According to reports, OZ Minerals said Tuesday it had received a revised bid from Minmetals excluding the sensitive military site.

OZ Minerals is struggling to refinance 1.3 billion Australian dollars (900 million U.S. dollars) in debt. The company has warned it risks being placed in receivership if the takeover bid fails.

(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2009)

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