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Rio Tinto in talks to sell stake in world’s second largest copper mine

Grasberg mine

Leading Australian-British metals and mining company Rio Tinto has announced that it is in talks with both Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold and Indonesia’s state-owned mining holding company Inalum regarding the potential sale of its interest in the Grasberg copper mine.

The statement from Rio Tinto confirms rumours surrounding such discussions, however, Rio Tinto makes clear that these talks are in early stages and there is not any certainty that a deal will be reached.

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“Rio Tinto confirms that discussions between Rio Tinto, Inalum and Freeport are ongoing, including as to price,” the announcement reads. “No agreement has been reached, and there is no certainty that binding agreements will be signed.”

The mine is currently owned and operated by Freeport’s Indonesian division, whilst Rio Tinto’s joint venture with Freeport currently holds a 40% share in the production of the mine over specific levels, with this set to increase to 40% of all production following 2021.

Should Inalum acquire Rio Tinto’s interest, the deal will form part of the company’s planned aim of purchasing a controlling stake in the mine.

Grasberg is renowned as the being the world’s second largest copper mine and the largest gold mine in the world, producing 750 kilotons a year, only bested by northern Chile’s Escondia mine that produces 1,270 kiltons annually.  

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