Rio Tinto CEO Mum On Hathor Counteroffer

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese wouldn't say if his company would raise its bid for a Canadian uranium developer after a rival bid Tuesday.

Indian Point Nuclear Plant
Photo by: Daniel Case

"It’s gotta be something that works for our shareholders and whatever happens happens," he told CNBC when pressed about the C$4.50 per share bid for Hathor Exploration from Cameco Corp. Rio Tinto had previously bid C$4.15 a share.

Despite falling uranium prices, especially since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Albanese said nuclear power after 2020 is "still a business we want to be in. It’s more of a long-term exploration play. It nicely complements the rest of our businesses," which include coal and copper mining.

"For us it’s all about looking past the next three to five years," which he sees as soft markets with softer margins.

"We're going to see where nuclear power goes in the future," he said. "Post-2020, which is the time it takes to build a new mine, we should have strong demand for that particular market" around the world.

Reuters contributed to this report.