Updated from 12:32 a.m. EST
confirmed Monday it is talking with
Aluminum Corp. of China
about the Chinese company buying minority stakes in some of its operations -- a move that could provide a big capital injection as the mining giant struggles to pay its debts.
Chinalco, as the Chinese company is known, already has a 12% stake in Rio Tinto and the deal under discussion could significantly raise Chinalco's share of the Anglo-Australian miner.
The mining company responded to media reports in a statement released Monday to the Australian Securities Exchange.
The potential Chinalco investment is among options that Rio Tinto is considering as it struggles with slumping metal prices and a huge debt load, a report in the
Wall Street Journal
said. Another option would be a large placement of shares with existing investors, something known as a rights issue, according to the report.
"Rio Tinto confirms that it has held discussions with Chinalco regarding Chinalco acquiring minority interests in various operating businesses of the Rio Tinto group and also investing in convertible instruments," Rio Tinto said in a statement.
"There can be no certainty that a transaction will ultimately take place and any possible transaction would be conditional upon approval by the shareholders of Rio Tinto and all necessary government and regulatory authorities," the company said.
On Friday, Rio Tinto announced it was selling South American mining assets to rival
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
for $1.6 billion, the report noted.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com. AP contributed to this report.