Panel Declines Application in Relation to Ashton Mining

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The Takeovers Panel advises that it will not make a declaration of unacceptable circumstances in relation to the affairs of Ashton Mining Limited in response to an application made by De Beers Australia Holdings Pty Ltd. on Friday, 29 September.

The Panel has also declined to make any interim order under section 657E of the Corporations Law restraining Rio Tinto from dispatching its bidder's statement to Ashton shareholders.

The Panel's decision follows an undertaking by Rio Tinto to issue, within a week, a supplementary bidder's statement making one change to its current bidder's statement.

The change will be the deletion of a reference in the bidder's statement to the Western Australian Department of Resources Development agreeing with Rio Tinto's view on an aspect of the process for gaining approval of modified marketing arrangements for Argyle diamonds. Rio Tinto had not stated in its bidder's statement that it made the reference with the consent of the Department of Resources Development.

The Panel did not agree with any other concerns raised by De Beers in relation to Rio Tinto's bidder's statement.

The Panel members for this application are Mr Brett Heading (sitting President), Mr Denis Byrne and Ms Karen Wood.

Nigel Morris
Corporations and Securities Panel
Level 47 Nauru House,
80 Collins Street
Ph: +61 3 9655 3501