June 3, 2013 / 1:08 PM / in 4 years

Rio Tinto draws up shortlist for Canada iron ore sale - sources

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto has received 13 to 15 initial bids for its majority stake in Canada’s largest iron ore producer and has drawn up a shortlist of roughly half that number, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Along with rivals, Rio has promised to focus on its key assets and sell off non-core operations as, it wrestles with a $19 billion debt burden, sluggish demand and weaker prices.

One of the sources said on Monday that the shortlist had been whittled down to 5 to 6 suitors after initial bids were submitted for Rio’s 59 percent holding in Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) last month.

The source said it was unclear when binding bids would be due, as Rio was still seeking additional interest in the coming weeks from buyers including some of China’s largest players, so far absent.

Rio declined to comment.

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