Rio Tinto Eyeing Toro Energy’s Uranium, Rare Metal Interests In Namibia

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | June 18, 2012 4:19 PM EST

Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, is in talks to acquire the mining rights for uranium, base metals and rare metals of Toro Energy in Namibia, Proactive Investors UK reported.

The investment news agency said Rio Tinto is conducting negotiations with Nova Energy for the licences of the three potential exploration projects. Nova Energy is a joint venture company controlled 25 per cent by Toro Energy, 65 per cent by Deep Yellow and 10 per cent by the Namibian Empowerment Company Sixzone Investments.

Should negotiations prove successful, Rio Tinto will be given a controlling part in the licenses "by fulfilling certain work and expenditure obligations," Proactive Investors UK said.

Meanwhile, the Anglo-Australian miner has also been reportedly restarted talks with Indian state-run iron ore miner NMDC over a possible joint venture project which both miners abandoned in 2011.

In 2008, Rio Tinto and NMDC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for prospective investment opportunities within and outside of India, specifically geared in iron ore and other minerals.

The Business Standard, quoting an unidentified steel ministry official, reportedly have started talks on reopening the business prospect, but everything is still inconclusive at the moment.

"Efforts are on, on behalf of NMDC, to renew the MoU with Rio Tinto. Preliminary discussions have been held a couple of times," the official said.

India's largest iron ore producer, NMDC, is eyeing overseas acquisitions to ramp its production to meet India's growing demand of the raw material.

In 2011-12, it gave 27 million tonnes of the key steelmaking ingredient. Production targets for the current fiscal year have been placed at over 30 million tonnes.

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