NMDC not to bid with Tata Steel for stake in Riversdale

NMDC not to bid with Tata Steel for stake in Riversdale

New Delhi: Country’s top iron ore miner NMDC on Friday said it may bid independently for a stake in Africa-focused Riversdale Mining and ruled out any possibility of partnering with global steel major Tata Steel, which owns 24% stake in the Australian-listed miner.

The statement comes in the wake of speculations that Tata Steel may partner NMDC for acquiring Riversdale after global miner Rio Tinto’s $3.5 billion bid for a possible acquisition of the mining firm.

“We are not talking to Tata Steel on this issue. That will be done independently not in association with Tata Steel," NMDC chairman Rana Som told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to ink pact with Russia’s Severstal for a five million tonne steel project in Karnataka.

Any such question of proceeding with Tata Steel for Riversdale acquisition or purchase of shares does not arise, Som said.

There is no question of partnering with Tata Steel, Som said, adding that the answer to “whether we are partnering with Tata Steel in acquisition or purchase of shares in Riversdale, ... is no."

Navratna NMDC had earlier expressed interest in buying 10% stake in Riversdale.

Tata Steel could team up with NMDC or others to make a counterbid for Riversdale Mining, in response to Rio Tinto’s bid for coal-rich Australian miner Riversdale, media reports had said earlier.

When contacted, Tata Steel spokesperson Sanjay Choudhary said, “At this point of time, company has nothing to state."

Tata Steel, earlier this week, had said it viewed Riversdale Mining as a strategic investment.

“Tata Steel views Riversdale Mining as a valuable strategic investment and continues to be interested in developing the tenements of the company," the steel maker had said in a statement.

Riversdale Mining in a statement this week said, “The company has had discussions with Rio Tinto concerning a possible transaction at the corporate level for indicative consideration of $15.00 per Riversdale share."

Riversdale owns large coal mines in Mozambique and mining majors like Rio Tinto are eying its acquisition. Its assets include Benga and Zambezi projects in Mozambique which have high-quality coking coal reserves, a raw material for steel making.