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37. Contingent liabilities and contingent assets

(i) Contingent liabilities

The Group is subject to various claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. Additionally, and as set out in the demerger agreement, Anglo American and Mondi have agreed to indemnify each other, subject to certain limitations, against certain liabilities. Having taken appropriate legal advice, the Group believes that the likelihood of a material liability arising is remote. At 31 December 2008 contingent liabilities in respect of the Group's subsidiaries comprise aggregate amounts of $548 million (2007: $488 million) in respect of loans and performance guarantees given to banks and other third parties and are primarily in respect of environmental restoration and decommissioning obligations. For information relating to contingent liabilities in respect of associates and joint ventures refer to notes 16 and 17 respectively.

No contingent liabilities were secured on the assets of the Group at 31 December 2008 or 31 December 2007.

(ii) Contingent assets

There were no significant contingent assets in the Group at 31 December 2008 or 31 December 2007.

(iii) Other

Minera Loma de Níquel

In January 2008 Minera Loma de Níquel (MLdN) was notified of the intention of the Venezuelan Ministry of Basic Industries and Mining (MIBAM) to cancel 13 of its exploration and exploitation concessions due to MLdN's alleged failure to fulfil certain conditions of the concessions. These concessions do not include the concessions where the current mining operations and metallurgical facilities are located. MLdN believes that it has complied with the conditions of these concessions and has lodged administrative appeals against the notices of termination and is waiting for a response from MIBAM. MLdN may in the future undertake further appeals, including with Venezuela's Supreme Court, if the MIBAM's ruling does not adequately protect its interests.

Anglo American and MLdN continue to strive to resolve the matter by way of constructive dialogue; however, Anglo American and MLdN believe that there is a valid legal basis to reverse the notices of termination and will pursue all appropriate legal and other remedies and actions to protect their respective interests both under Venezuelan and international law. As such, Anglo American anticipates restoration of these concessions and renewal of those that expire in 2012. As a result, the Group continues to consolidate MLdN and no impairment has been recorded for the year ended 31 December 2008.

At 31 December 2008 the Group's interest in the book value of MLdN, including its mineral rights, was $443 million (2007: $616 million), as included in the Group's balance sheet. In the 12 months to 31 December 2008 MLdN's contribution to Group operating profit was $30 million (2007: $370 million).

Anglo American Sur

Anglo American inherited a 1978 agreement with Codelco, the Chilean state mining company, when it acquired Disputada de Las Condes (since renamed Anglo American Sur) in 2002. The agreement grants Codelco the right, subject to certain conditions and limitations, to acquire up to a 49% minority interest in Anglo American Sur, the wholly owned Group company that owns the Los Bronces and El Soldado copper mines and the Chagres smelter. These conditions include limiting the window for exercising the right to once every three years in the month of January until January 2027. The right was not exercised in 2009. The calculations of the price at which Codelco can exercise its right are complex and confidential but do, inter alia, take account of company profitability over a five year period.

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