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Glencore Said to Lay Groundwork for Potential Rio Merger

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Glencore Plc is laying the groundwork for a potential merger with Rio Tinto Group in the next year that would create the world’s largest mining company, worth about $160 billion, according to people familiar with the situation.

As a preliminary step, Glencore has reached out to Aluminum Corp. of China, the Chinese state-backed company that is Rio’s largest shareholder, to gauge its interest in a potential deal, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The discussions with the company, which is known as Chinalco and controls about 9.8 percent of Rio, took place in recent weeks, one of them said.