LONDON Oct 24 Mining company BHP Billiton
said on Thursday it was still in talks with a
mining venture co-founded by the former boss of Brazil's Vale,
Roger Agnelli, over the sale of BHP's slice of the Mount Nimba
iron ore deposit in Guinea.
"The discussions continue," BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie told
shareholders at the group's London annual general meeting,
adding Agnelli's B&A Mineracao had not yet reached a decision.
BHP selected B&A as the preferred bidder for its stake in
Mount Nimba, one of the largest iron ore deposits in Guinea,
last December, but at least one source familiar with the matter
has since said interest on the suitor's side had cooled.
BHP, the world's largest miner, currently owns a stake of
just over 40 percent in the venture behind the Mount Nimba
deposit. Gold miner Newmont owns another 40 percent.
A third party, French power plant builder Areva,
is currently being bought out of the venture by BHP and Newmont,
leaving both with a 50 percent slice, a source familiar with the
matter said recently.
BHP decided last year to pull out of its Mount Nimba iron
ore project, as it reduces its presence across West African iron
ore to focus on core projects.