Macarthur Coal Founder Talbot, Sundance Resources CEO Missing in Cameroon

Ken Talbot, the former chief executive officer of Australian mining company Macarthur Coal Ltd., is missing in West Africa after an aircraft carrying nine people, including Talbot and five other Australian mining executives, was lost.

The plane, chartered by Sundance Resources Ltd., was on a flight to Sundance’s Mbalam iron ore project in Cameroon on Saturday morning from the capital, Yaounde, according to an e- mailed statement from Don Nissen, chairman of Talbot Group Management.

“A comprehensive air and ground search coordinated by the Cameroon military will commence at first daylight local time on Sunday,” the Perth-based iron-ore developer said in a statement. Talbot owned a 16.1 percent in the company, according to Bloomberg data.

Sundance Managing Director Don Lewis as well as non- executive director and former BHP Billiton Ltd. executive John Jones were also on board, the Australian reported. Joint Sundance and Gindalbie Metals Ltd. Chairman Geoff Wedlock was on the plane, Gindalbie CEO Garret Dixon said by phone. Sundance independent director and Western Areas NL Chief Financial Officer Craig Oliver may also be on the plane, Western Areas CEO Julian Hanna said. “We’re very concerned,” Hanna said.

“Between them, without exaggeration, there are two centuries of mining experience,” said Gavin Wendt, an analyst at Sydney-based Mine Life Resources, by phone.

Talbot, a well-known Australian mining figure, founded Macarthur Coal and built the company into the largest producer of pulverized coal used in steelmaking, with a current market capitalization of A$3.18 billion ($2.77 billion). His current investments span iron ore, uranium, liquefied natural gas and copper.

Talbot Group spokesman Shane Edwards and Sundance spokeswoman Felicity Nuttal declined to comment further.

“The Australian High Commissioner-designate to Abuja -- currently in Cameroon -- is managing the government’s response on the ground,” said spokeswoman Ranya Alkadamanini of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

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