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Rio Tinto vows to fight BSG over Simandou project rights

Rio Tinto plans to challenge any legal action initiated by BSG Resources Ltd. regarding the mining rights for the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, according to a Dec. 12 Reuters report.

BSG has accused Rio Tinto of contributing to the loss of its mining rights for the Simandou project and is demanding compensation from the company.

Rio Tinto said in a statement cited by Reuters that its lawyers will respond in due course to a "pre-action" letter from BSG outlining the allegations and calling for proposals for compensation.

"If BSGR ultimately brings a claim, Rio Tinto expects to defend itself robustly," the company said.

Lengthy disputes spanning years over the rights to Simandou has led Rio Tinto to ink a deal to sell its share of the project to partner Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd.

In November, allegations emerged that Rio Tinto had paid bribes to Guinea government officials to gain control of the other half of the Simandou project, which led to the sacking of two of the company's executives.

Rio Tinto is facing separate legal action from one of the sacked executives.