Mining China

Chairman Hammer's Venture

Armand Hammer seems to go on forever. Last week he formally teamed up with a people who have gone on forever, the Chinese. The 85-year-old chairman of Occidental Petroleum signed an agreement with the People's Republic for the largest Sino-U.S. deal yet: a $580 million venture to mine coal from a huge pit at Antaibao, 310 miles west of Peking.

Hammer is an old hand at working with governments nervous about outsiders. In the 1920s he struck business deals with the fledgling Soviet state, and to this day Moscow holds Hammer in the highest trust. Two weeks ago, Hammer asked...

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