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Indians may bid for Riversdale

Coal outcrop at Benga
“’ Riversdale’s one
Mozambique project
Mumbai, India — MININGREVIEW.COM — 13 December, 2010 – State-run Indian iron ore miner NMDC may bid independently for a stake in Australian-based and listed Riversdale Mining Limited “’ which is focused on coal in Mozambique and South Africa “’ and has ruled out any possibility of partnering with Tata Steel, said a Times of India report quoting agencies.

Last week Riversdale declined to comment on a report in the Australian Financial Review that it may be in talks with another group.

A spokesman for the company said in an e-mail from here that it remained in previously announced discussions with Wuhan Iron & Steel Group. The newspaper had reported that Riversdale might be in talks with Anglo American plc or Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, but did not cite a source.

Earlier last week, Rio Tinto Limited signalled that it was back on the acquisition trail, after Riversdale confirmed that the global miner had made an indicative US$3.5 billion takeover offer.

Revealing this development in a letter to the Australian Securities Exchange, Riversdale said it was in confidential talks with Rio Tinto, but wasn’t in a position to submit a proposal for the potential acquisition. “The company has had discussions with Rio Tinto concerning a possible transaction at the corporate level for indicative consideration of US$15 per Riversdale share,” Riversdale said.

Now media reports here are speculating that Tata Steel may partner NMDC for acquiring Riversdale, in the wake of Rio Tinto’s bid.

“We are not talking to Tata Steel on this issue. That will be done independently, not in association with Tata Steel,” the newspaper quoted NMDC Chairman Rana Som as saying.
“There is no question of partnering with Tata Steel.”

NMDC had earlier expressed an interest in buying a 10% stake in Riversdale, the paper said.

NMDC officials were not immediately available for a comment.