Australia mourns mining executives after Congo crash

Ken Talbot
Image caption Ken Talbot, one of Australia's richest men, was on the plane

Tributes have been paid in Australia to mining magnate Ken Talbot, after officials in the Republic of Congo found no survivors in the wreckage of a plane that disappeared on Saturday.

The aircraft came down in dense jungle, killing Mr Talbot and the entire board of the Sundance Resources mining firm.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said retrieving the 11 bodies would be a "long and painstaking process".

Mr Talbot was among Australia's richest men, with a $840m (£567m) fortune.

The wreckage was spotted on Monday by rescuers searching by helicopter in the Republic of Congo.

French military personnel, who were dropped at the crash site, confirmed there were no survivors.

Australian mining contractors are expected to start clearing a path through the jungle on Tuesday, Sundance Resources said in a statement.

The 11 mostly Australian mining executives were travelling from Cameroon to Republic of Congo to visit an iron ore project.

Mr Talbot was travelling with five other Australians, one American, two Britons and two French nationals.

Mr Talbot, 59, was a non-executive director of Sundance, with an estimated wealth of $840m (£567m), according to BRW business magazine's latest rich list.

Trading in shares of the Perth-based company has been suspended on the Australian Stock Exchange, and analysts say there could be a significant markdown in its value given the uncertainty of the current situation.

For an entire board to share the same flight breaches traditional corporate protocols, though colleagues say they did not appear to have any choice.

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