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Vale Weighs Partner for $6 Bln Argentine Potash Project

July 26 (Bloomberg) -- Vale SA, the world’s third-biggest mining company by market value, said it’s considering bringing in a partner for a $6 billion potash project in Argentina.

“The profile we are looking for is a partner that would be strategic, that would bring value to the project and that would be willing to share risk with us,” Roger Downey, head of Vale’s fertilizers and coal business, said in a conference call today.

Vale Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira signed agreements with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on July 19 to proceed with Rio Colorado. The project will make Argentina the world’s third-largest potash exporter, Fernandez said at the signing ceremony.

At the time Fernandez said Vale and YPF SA, the oil and gas company she nationalized in April, are working together on shale gas and electricity generation projects, according to a copy of her speech published on the presidential website.

A YPF spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment left by telephone and e-mail. Fernandez’s spokesman Alfredo Scocimarro wasn’t immediately available to speak, an assistant said by phone.

To contact the reporters on this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto in Rio de Janeiro at jspinetto@bloomberg.net; Pablo Gonzalez in Buenos Aires at pgonzalez49@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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