China offered another slice of Australia's mining sector

China offered another slice of Australia's mining sectorSydney - Chinese firm Minmetals on Thursday received approval from Canberra to buy mining assets from cash-strapped Australian copper and gold producer OZ Minerals Ltd. Treasurer Wayne Swan said that Minmetals (China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Company Ltd) would be required to operate the mines as a "separate business with commercial objectives and using companies incorporated, headquartered and managed in Australia under a predominantly Australian management team."

Last month Swan withheld permission for OZ Minerals to accept a cash offer for all of Minmetals's assets that valued the company at 2.6 billion Australian dollars (1.6 billion US dollars).

Permission was withheld because the Prominent Hill mine was on land within a military area in South Australia. Oz Minerals will now operate Prominent Hill on its own.

"OZ Minerals has advised that it intends to remain an ASX (Australian Securities Exchange) listed company and to continue operating and further developing the Prominent Hill mine," Swan said.

OZ Minerals chairman Barry Cusack said the deal was the "best currently available solution that resolves all of the company's refinancing issues."

Last year Swan expressed concern that Chinese companies, who were also top customers for Australian commodities, were seeking control of Australian mining companies at a time when they were struggling to adjust to lower prices for their minerals.

"While Australia welcomes foreign investment in our economy, we will carefully examine national interest issues where these arise in relation to foreign sovereign ownership," Swan said at the time. (dpa)