Vale, the world's largest iron-ore producer, is considering joining a group of companies including France's GDF Suez in a bid for a hydroelectric power dam project in Brazil, Valor Economico newspaper reported on Tuesday without saying how it got the information.
Vale may partner with Suez and Brazilian power utility holdings Neoenergia and CPFL for the Belo Monte project that construction companies and energy industry officials estimate may cost up to 30 billion reais ($17 billion), Valor said.
GDF and Brazilian construction companies Odebrecht, Camargo Correa and Andrade Gutierrez have been at odds with the Brazilian government's energy planning agency, EPE, over the cost of the project as the EPE seeks to put a cap of 16 billion reais on price tag for Belo Monte, the daily reported.
According to GDF Suez's chairman in Latin America, Mauricio Bahr, the consortium needs a partner to cope with the cost of the project, the paper said.
Belo Monte, a dam with total installed capacity of 11,000 megawatts, would be located in the northern state of Para. The auction for the project is scheduled for November, and another group led by local construction giant Odebrecht might bid for the right to build it, Valor said.
Vale wants to become an integrated mining company with interests in energy and is currently in talks with steelmakers for ventures in that area, state development bank BNDES President Luciano Coutinho told Reuters last week.
Vale's media office did not immediately return calls made by Reuters seeking a comment on the Valor report. ($1=1.762 reais) (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, editing by Maureen Bavdek)