Rio Tinto, BHP mull Canada diamond merger

MELBOURNE (AFP) — Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are considering merging their Canadian diamond operations, as the former bitter rivals look for savings through increased cooperation, a report said Monday 7 September.

Photo: AFP

Both firms had sent employees to Canada to examine a one billion dollar (850 million US) merger of their diamond mines, which sit alongside each other in the Northwest Territories, the Australian newspaper reported.

They already jointly own the Escondida copper mine in Chile and earlier this year announced plans for a massive iron ore joint venture in Western Australia expected to save the firms at least 10 billion US dollars.

The Australian newspaper said the plan being considered in Canada involved combining operations at BHP's Ekati and Rio's Diavik mines.

Both companies, which were at loggerheads last year when BHP launched a hostile 150 billion dollar takeover offer for Rio, declined to comment on the report.

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