rejected an unsolicited all-cash offer by Brazil's


(RIO) - Get Report

and reiterated its support for a cash-and-stock merger with

Phelps Dodge

( PD) of Arizona.

Inco, a Toronto-based nickel miner, said Tuesday its board backed the Phelps Dodge deal and urged holders to vote for the deal at a special meeting next week. Inco and Phelps Dodge agreed to merge back in June in what was to be a three-way deal with Canada's Falconbridge. But Swiss Xstrata ended up buying Falconbridge instead, and the bidding for Inco quickly heated up with both CVRD and Vancouver's

Teck Cominco


briefly joining in as well.

Inco sought to hold discussions with CVRD about possibly raising its C$86-a-share bid, but CVRD wasn't interested, Inco said. The decision puts the Phelps Dodge bid, worth about C$66 a share in stock and C$20 in cash, back in the driver's seat.