Chinalco may take stake in Mongolian copper mine
* Chinalco may buy stake in Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine
* Rio may convert stake in Ivanhoe into direct mine holding
* Talks may results in three-way agreement
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto's (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) biggest shareholder, China's Chinalco, is considering buying a stake in the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia, according to a regulatory filing. Oyu Tolgoi is billed as one of the world's biggest undeveloped mine deposits and is expected to cost $4.6 billion to build.
Rio has been holding talks with Ivanhoe about "the potential conversion of its ... equity stake in the company into a direct ownership interest in the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mineral development project," the filing said.
The end result of the talks with Chinalco could be a two-way or three-way agreement between Ivanhoe, Rio and Chinalco, Rio added.
Any such deal would require the approval of the Mongolian government, Rio said in the filing.
Rio has also discussed the mine project with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corp, the finance arm of the World Bank, it added.
The mine is expected to produce 544,000 tonnes of copper and 650,000 ounces of gold annually over its first 10 years, and operate for at least 27 years.
"Mogi" Munkhdul Badral
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