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An airplane chartered by a Perth-based resources company is believed to have crashed in Africa with nine passengers on board.
Talbot Group owner and director of Sundance resources Ken Talbot has been confirmed as one of six Australian mining executives among nine people missing.
Most of those on board the plane are connected to the iron ore miner Sundance Resources, a West Australian based company listed on the ASX.
The empire of Andrew Forrest, for example, is totally focused on the Australian sector, with all his investments concentrated around the Pilbara region. Ken Talbot, on the other hand, has investments in mining operations around the world, so may be able to switch focus to foreign operations.
SIX Australian mining executives including Queenslander Ken Talbot, one of the nation's richest men, are among 11 people feared dead after their plane went missing in West African jungle.
The plane, which took off in clear weather, had departed from the Cameroon capital of Yaounde on Saturday morning when contact was lost after 38 minutes.
"It left Yaounde international airport on Saturday June 19 at 9.13am (6.13pm AEST) with an estimated arrival time of 10:20am (7.20pm AEST)... The last contact took place at 9:51am (6.51pm AEST)," a Cameroon official said.
The CASA C-212 twin turboprop, chartered by Western Australian-based mid-tier mining company Sundance Resources, was flying to the company's Mbalam iron ore project in southern Cameroon.
Other than Mr Talbot, the Australian mining executives on the flight were: Sundance chairman Geoff Wedlock, chief executive Don Lewis, directors Craig Oliver and John Jones, and company secretary John Carr-Gregg. All of the men other than Mr Talbot are believed to be from Perth.
The charter flight operator carrying mining billionaire Ken Talbot and Sundance Resources chairman Geoff Wedlock had been banned by the European Union following three earlier safety incidents - one as recent as 2008.
Flight Safety Foundation, a global independent body for aviation safety, listed three safety incidents for the Brazzaville, Congo-based company, Aero-Service, occurring in January 2008 and March 1994.
The flight safety body also said Aero-Service was banned from operating within the EU.
Mr Talbot was due to appear in a Brisbane court in August charged with making corrupt payments totalling almost $360,000 to disgraced former Queensland cabinet minister Gordon Nuttall.
Peter Stening, the co-founder of Stening Simpson, the largest risk management firm in the Asia-Pacific region, said yesterday that he was "staggered" that standard procedures to protect VIPs and corporate leaders travelling in danger zones and Third World countries had not been followed.
Mr Stening said that his firm had banned the use of both the Congo-based airline, Aero-Service, and the aircraft type, a twin-prop CASA C-212, as they were flagged as having poor safety records in aviation databases.
He also said that the Sundance executives should have been shuttled to the company's Mbalam iron ore operation in smaller groups if only one approved charter plane was available.
"This should never have happened. We would never, ever allow a company's board to travel on the same aircraft. It's nonsensical. You just don't do it. The risk is too high," Mr Stening told The Australian.
Questions about the planning for the trip have also been raised after Sundance was forced to charter a plane from Aero-Service after its initial carrier of choice, Jetfly, did not receive the required clearances to travel into Congo airspace.
The group had flown to Africa on Talbot's private 19-seater jet. However, it was too big to land at the airstrip nearest to Mbalam.