(Reuters) - Canada's Inmet Mining Corp IMN.TO said on Tuesday it is not in talks "with any party" to sell itself or a substantial part of its assets, sending its shares down nearly 3 percent.
The statement from the base metal miner followed a report late on Monday on the website of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper that suggested the company had held informal tie-up talks with larger rival First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO).
The paper's unsourced article speculated a takeover bid could be worth as much as C$5 billion ($5 billion). Inmet's market cap, as of market close on Monday, was nearly C$4 billion.
Shares of Inmet fell 2.96 percent to C$55.80 on Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the company denied the takeover rumors.
The Toronto-based miner said it remains focused on the construction and development of its $6.2 billion Cobre Panama project in Central America.
Inmet holds an 80 percent stake in the massive Panamanian copper project, with the remaining interest held by a Korean consortium. The company confirmed earlier this month that it remains open to selling another minority stake in the project.
Inmet recently backed away from a takeover of its own after its C$130 million hostile bid for Petaquilla Minerals Ltd PTQ.TO failed to secure shareholder support.
$1=$1.00 Canadian Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Janet Guttsman; and Peter Galloway