British-Australian Rio Tinto confirmed Wednesday that it is in talks with PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) to sell its Grasberg copper mine stake in Indonesia for $3.5 billion.
Rio Tinto has a joint venture in Grasberg with US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., FCX, for a 40 percent share of production above specific levels until 2021, and 40 per cent of all production after 2021, according to the company.
Grasberg, located in the province of Papua in Indonesia, is one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines in terms of ore reserves and production.
"Rio Tinto notes reports of the potential purchase by PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium ("Inalum") of Rio Tinto's entire interest in the Grasberg mine," the multinational mining company said in a statement.
The mining giant says that ongoing discussions between Rio Tinto, Inalum and Freeport -- owner and the operator of Grasberg -- also include the final price tag.
"No agreement has been reached, and there is no certainty that binding agreements will be signed," said Rio Tinto.
By Huseyin Erdogan