Mining giant Rio Tinto is set to pull out of a planned iron ore project worth over one billion euros in Portugal, but the government remains confident it will find prospectors as other foreign firms remain interested, sources said.
“The Moncorvo mines project will go ahead, but most likely without Rio Tinto,” said one of the sources, adding that although formally the talks with the Anglo-Australian miner have not ended yet, the result was practically clear. “Rio Tinto is choosing to give up smaller projects and Moncorvo should be one of them.”
Portugal’s economy ministry would not comment on the issue.
Moncorvo, in northern Portugal, holds one of the largest iron ore deposits in Europe.
Portugal, which is going through its worst recession since the 1970s and is under a 78-billion euros IMF/EU bailout, is trying to draw investors to explore its mining resources that range from iron ore to gold, silver and tungsten.