AUSTRALIAN mining magnate Ken Talbot and all four other board members at Sundance Resources are missing after their plane disappeared in Cameroon on Saturday.
Talbot, one of Australia’s richest men and non-executive director at Sundance, was one of nine people flying to the Republic of Congo, where Sundance has opened a major iron ore project.
The firm has halted all operations in the area to divert resources to the search efforts, and said it will request that trading in its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange be suspended today.
“Weather conditions at site are currently favourable and a comprehensive multi-national air and ground search effort commenced at 1000 local time on Sunday,” the firm said.
Cameroon’s government has said six Australians, two British, two French and one American were on the aircraft.
The other Sundance personnel on the flight were confirmed by the company as being chairman Geoff Wedlock, chief executive John Carr-Gregg, and non-executive directors John Jones and Craig Oliver.
A search for the aircraft by Cameroon, Congo Republic and Gabon authorities is under way, with assistance from Australian, Canadian and US diplomats.
Talbot, 58, rose to prominence as the founder of Macarthur Coal, which he sold in 1995 for A$700m (equivalent to £332.4m at the time). He is currently at the centre of a corruption enquiry.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said last night it was urgently investigating reports that two British citizens were on board the plane.