RIO DE JANEIRO, June 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner MMX , controlled by local tycoon Eike Batista, said on Thursday that the search for a partner to help fund its expansion had become harder as the price of iron ore fell.
MMX Mineração e Metálicos SA, as the company is formally known, is in the process of restructuring and looking for a partner for its Serra Azul mine project in Minas Gerais while contending with the upheaval from the collapse of Batista’s oil, power, mining, shipbuilding and port-operation empire.
Iron ore .IO62-CNI=SI has fallen by more than a third in the last 10 months and now trades near two-year lows.
“Deterioration of price in the market has made for difficult talks,” MMX Chief Executive Officer Carlos Gonzalez said on a call with analysts.
While talks are continuing, he added, some non-binding proposals have been revised.
MMX has cut its staff by half and sold off a majority stake in its Sudeste Port, an iron ore export terminal near Rio de Janeiro, as it tries to reduce debt and focus on developing its flagship project.
Gonzalez said 2014 would be “a year full of challenges.” Results, he said, would depend on the company’s ability to bring in a partner and start operations at the Sudeste port, which is now majority owned by trading firm Trafigura and Mubadala Development Co, the sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates. (Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)