From Deal Journal:
Reports from Russian newspapers show that Rio Tinto doesn’t want to be left out of the scramble to control the world’s supply of potash, the modern day gold rush of the fertilizer world.
The Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate, according to the newspaper Vedomosti, is in Russia today exploring the possibility of buying a 10% to 15% stake in potash producer Urakali, a company valued at about $15 billion.
The news comes as Rio rival BHP Billiton continues to try to win over Canada’s Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan with its unsolicited $39 billion bid. Signs that China plans to do battle with BHP for Potash Corp. also are mounting, according to this Wall Street Journal article Tuesday.
Rio’s reported interest in Urakali would seem to represent a change of heart for the Anglo-Australian miner.
Last month, there was speculation that Rio might team up with a Chinese partner and make a bid for Potash Corp., but those rumors have petered out. And it was only last year that Rio was selling its underdeveloped potash assets to Brazilian mining giant Vale for $850 million. The move was part of a wave of divestitures that Rio undertook in response to the “rapidity and severity of the global economic downturn,” Rio said at the time....MORE