NEW YORK Vale SA said it is "studying potential synergies" with rival nickel producer Glencore Xstrata Plc.
The companies are discussing an integration of their mining, milling and smelting operations in northern Ontarios Sudbury Basin, Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in its third-quarter earnings call Nov. 7.
Discussions over a deal that would combine aspects of the two companies Sudbury operations were confirmed to AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin last month (amm.com, Oct. 15).
"It makes a lot of sense," Vale executive officer of base metals and information technology Peter Poppinga said during the earnings call. "We are finishing the mapping phase now, and the negotiation phase (will begin) about next year."
Poppinga and Vale chief executive officer Murilo Ferreira said the agreement would likely take the form of an "unincorporated joint venture," allowing Vale and Baar, Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata to unify operations in the short-term without any binding, long-term corporate agreement.