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Australia : Shares edge higher in morning trade.

The All Ordinaries Index was up 7 points at 4,521 by 11:01am (AEST), while the ASX 200 was 8 points higher at 4,506.

Shares in Lihir Gold were down 1 per cent, despite reporting a 6 per cent rise in production during the June quarter.

Lihir says its planned merger with the country's biggest gold miner, Newcrest, is on track.

Lihir has mines in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Ivory Coast, and has announced a 6 per cent rise in production during the second quarter, from the first three months of the year.

That was in line with expectations.

The company's chief executive Graeme Hunt says the merger with Newcrest represents a very good deal for Lihir's shareholders.

"The merged group offers significant growth potential. The directors continue to unanimously recommend that LGL shareholders vote in favour of the merger implementation scheme at a meeting to be held on August the 23rd," he said.

"Subject to the successful completion of that shareholder vote, the transaction is scheduled for completion on September 13."

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were up about 0.3 per cent.

Engineering and mining services company Downer EDI announced that it has signed a five-year $2 billion mining contract with BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi in relation to their Queensland coal mines.

Its shares had surged more than 5 per cent to $4.79 by 11:13am.

NAB was the best of the big four banks - with gains of just over 1 per cent.

The Australian dollar was worth 90.2 US cents.

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Date:Jul 28, 2010
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