The proposed takeover of London-based mineral miner Rio Tinto
On Friday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission expressed concern that the combination could interfere with the global seaborne supply of iron ore. The mineral is one of the key ingredients in the manufacture of steel. The commission's proffered opinion doesn't yet constitute a formal ruling; that'll come sometime between now and Oct 1. The commission will accept comments on BHP's offer until Sept. 5.
It's likely that some comments opposing the buyout are coming from China, where steelmakers have watched their iron ore costs jump in recent months. Indeed, it hardly seems coincidental that over the weekend, Aluminum Corp. of China
You have to believe that the lobbying is hot and heavy surrounding BHP's proposed purchase, which Rio Tinto has thus far spurned. It appears that Chinalco was a guest of BHP at the Olympic games in Beijing earlier this month. Obviously, size is the key issue: BHP and Rio Tinto follow only Brazil's Vale
For Alcoa's part, the company's participation may signal its desire to scoop up any aluminum assets that Rio Tinto might be forced to divest as part of a merger with BHP. Alcoa's efforts to buy Canadian rival Alcan were trumped last year by a considerably higher offer from the British company.
In short, events in the mining sector remain fun to observe, and well worth Fools' attention.
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