Rio Tinto has suffered another setback after its £2.2 biliion bid to take control of a Mongolian copper project was rebuffed.
The FTSE 100 miner said it was ‘disappointed’ its plan to buy the 49 percent stake in Canadian mineral explorer Turquoise Hill it does not already own has been rejected.
Turquoise Hill owns 66 per cent of the Oyu Tolgoi site in the Gobi Desert, one of the largest copper and gold deposits in the world, with Mongolia’s government owning the rest. The world’s thirst for copper is expected to be bolstered in the coming years by the global push to cut carbon emissions.
However, the price of copper has fallen sharply since peaking earlier this year, as the global economic outlook darkens.
The Anglo-Australian group owns 51 percent of Turquoise Hill and also manages operations at Oyu Tolgoi.
It announced a proposal to take over the rest of the Montreal-based business in March, saying it would create a ‘more efficient ownership and governance structure’ for the Mongolian site. But some minority shareholders said the price was too low.
Rio Tinto said it still believed its offer represented ‘compelling value’ for Turquoise Hill investors and said rivals had seen their share prices fall by a third ‘in light of a deteriorating and more uncertain external environment’ since the offer was made.
Bold Baatar, Rio’s chief executive for copper, said the miner ‘remains as committed as ever to the long-term success of Oyu Tolgoi. ‘We will continue to work constructively with the board of Turquoise Hill to advance the Oyu Tolgoi project’. Rio Tinto reaffirmed that it was not interested in alternative deals such as selling its stake in Turquoise Hill. (thisismoney)