Feb 7 Canadian coal miner SouthGobi Resources
Ltd said Mongolia's anti-corruption authority
has imposed restrictions on the company's Mongolian unit,
including its local bank accounts, as it investigates asset
The orders restrict the use of in-country funds but are not
expected to have any material impact on the company's
activities, said SouthGobi, which is controlled by Rio Tinto Ltd
Mongolia's Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC)
launched an investigation last year into the divestment of some
SouthGobi licenses to third parties and the involvement of
government officials, SouthGobi said last year.
The company said in December that IAAC had concluded its
questioning of SouthGobi's Chief Legal Counsel Sarah Armstrong
and that she was no longer a suspect.
Neither SouthGobi nor any of its employees have been charged
with any wrongdoing, the company said on Thursday, adding that
it was reviewing the legal process under which the restrictions
have been imposed.
In September, Aluminum Corp of China Ltd (Chalco)
dropped its $926 million bid for a
majority stake in SouthGobi due to political opposition from
Mongolia. SouthGobi fired its Chief Executive Alexander Molyneux
SouthGobi's shares have fallen 72 percent to C$2.20 since
touching a high of $7.77 in April.
Mongolia, which borders China and is home to some of the
world's biggest mineral deposits, is wary of the growing Chinese
presence in its mining industry and suspended SouthGobi's mining
licenses following the bid by state-controlled Chalco.
SouthGobi, whose top shareholder Turquoise Hill Resources
Ltd is majority-owned by Rio, owns the Ovoot Tolgoi
mine located about 40 km (25 miles) north of the Mongolia-China