NMDC seeks to revive pact with Rio Tinto

National Mineral Development Corp Ltd (NMDC), India's biggest iron ore miner, plans to breathe life into a memorandum of understanding it had signed with Rio Tinto, the world's second largest miner after BHP Billiton, two years ago and on which there has been no movement on the ground so far.

''We are planning to re-evaluate the contract that we signed. We are having a meeting with the Rio Tinto officials this month-end where we will decide how to take the MoU forward,'' NMDC chairman and managing director Rana Som said.

The two companies had signed the agreement on 18 August 2008, after months of discussion, to work jointly on iron ore assets in India and overseas. ''Opportunities in other minerals will also be booked for under the MoU,'' NMDC had said in a press release issued at that time.

It was a very ambitious plan, whereby the companies had decided to float a joint venture company that would scout for acquiring mining assets in India and overseas for the purpose of exploration, development and exploitation.

Also, they had planned to develop low-grade iron ore projects with suitable beneficiation processes as well.

According to a recent media report, NMDC is looking at acquiring an iron ore mine in Australia in consortium with Rio Tinto, though there is no word yet on its location, size or cost.