Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 07:24 UK

China deal for Australian miner

Prominent Hill
Oz's Prominent Hill mine is near a weapons testing range

Australian miner Oz Minerals has agreed to sell most of its assets to China's Minmetals, just days after the Australian government blocked the deal.

The renegotiated deal worth $1.2bn (£0.84bn) should satisfy security concerns raised by the original offer.

The deal would help rescue the world's second-biggest zinc miner from its debt crisis and secure its future.

The agreement comes a day after a deal between Australia's Fortesque Metals and another Chinese firm was approved.

The Oz Minerals takeover still requires regulatory and shareholder approval.

The Australian government rejected Minmetal's $1.7bn bid last week because one of Oz Minerals' key mines was located near a weapons-testing range in the outback.

The new deal excludes the Prominent Hill copper and gold mine in question.

"We believe it represents an attractive offer for Oz Minerals and our shareholders," said the miner's chairman Barry Cusack.

Michael Slifirski at Credit Suisse said: "This looks like a great get out of jail card."

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