BEIJING  - China’s Hanlong Group intends to take over Australian mining company Sundance early next year and gain control over a key supply of iron ore in Africa, state media reported on Saturday.

The Xinhua news agency quoted officials at the privately owned Hanlong as saying Friday that the acquisition process was to start on February 26 and end March 1 after the submission of documents to Australian authorities.

Sundance Resources said in August that it had accepted a revised takeover offer from Hanlong in a deal worth about Aus$1.4 billion (US$1.45 billion).

According to Xinhua, the acquisition would hand Hanlong control of the Sundance-controlled Mbalam iron ore mine that straddles the West African countries of Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

The mine holds 865 million to 925 million tonnes of iron ore, Xinhua reported, citing what it said was an initial estimate. The agency also cited unnamed observers as saying Hanlong’s control of the mine would give China more influence in setting international iron ore prices.

Major investments and acquisitions by China in natural resources projects overseas, including Africa, have helped fuel its rise to become the world’s second-largest economy.

Xinhua said that Hanlong Group has combined assets of 36 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) with ownership or stakes in more than 30 firms.