Mining giant Rio Tinto has drawn up contingency plans to raise $8 billion in a rights issue underwritten by JP Morgan Cazenove and Credit Suisse, the Sunday Times reported without citing sources.

The newspaper said the agreement has been in place since Rio announced its full-year results in February. However, Rio will only use the rights issue option if its controversial $19.5 billion deal with China's state-owned Chinalco falls through.

Under the terms of that deal, Chinalco will take an 18 percent stake in Rio and a significant interest in strategic mining assets. The deal has met with resistance from some British investors and the Sunday Times reported that an alternative fundraising plan is in place.

Rio Tinto could not be reached for comment on the report.

Separately, The Financial Times reported that Rio Tinto is ready to proceed with a rights issue of about $10 billion if its tie-up with Chinalco falls through.

Chinalco could extend a planned convertible bond to UK investors if deemed necessary by Rio's board, the FT said, citing a person familiar with Chinalco's thinking.

Rio remains committed to the Chinalco deal, but that could be blocked by regulators or vetoed by shareholders, the FT said.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph reported that mining group Anglo American has restarted its search for a new chairman, months after a boardroom split scuppered the appointment of Sir John Parker to the role.

The newspaper said Anglo has appointed the headhunting firm Spencer Stuart/Zygos to the role. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham, additional reporting by Megan Davies in New York; editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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