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Merlin talks

KIMBERLEY Diamond Co Ltd has been in talks with Rio Tinto for the purchase of Merlin diamond mine in the Northern Territory.

Kimberley chairman Miles Kennedy said he was interested in acquiring the mine because of the synergies that would be created through the purchase.

He said that, in order to strike a deal with Rio, it would need in excess of $30 million.

The sell-off by Rio Tinto is a bid by the company to offload non-strategic assets it inherited with the 2000 takeover of Ashton Mining, operator of the Argyle diamond mine.

Mr Kennedy said Kimberley Diamond was conducting full due diligence and was negotiating for a debt facility through Rothschild.

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