BEIJING- Aluminum Corp of China has denied that it is in talks to sell its stake in mining giant Rio Tinto, local media reported on Saturday.

Chinalco said the Rio stake was a strategic investment as part of its diversification and internationalization plans, and that any decision to sell it would not be made lightly, the Chinese-language Beijing Times reported.

There has been market talk that China Investment Corp, the country's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, may bid for state-owned Chinalco's roughly 9 percent stake in Rio. For related article, double-click on:

Rio's relations with Chinalco soured in July 2009 when it snubbed an offer that would have seen the Chinese group invest another $19.5 billion for a bigger equity partnership. Rio later opted to form an iron ore joint venture with rival BHP Billiton Ltd.

(Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Andy Bruce)