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Australia eases ownership limits on Chinese miner

SYDNEY--Australia eased foreign ownership restrictions on Chinese state-owned coal firm Yanzhou Wednesday to help shore up the miner amid tough conditions in the sector.

Treasurer Joe Hockey said he had agreed to relax a number of conditions placed on Yanzhou Coal as part of its AU$3.5 billion (US$3.2 billion) takeover of Felix Resources in 2009, after a request from the Chinese firm.

One of the key requirements was that Yanzhou reduce its stake in wholly-owned Australian subsidiary Yancoal to less than 70 percent by the end of this month and its share of Felix's four coal mines to 50 percent, in a bid to alleviate foreign ownership concerns.

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