Australia's Mineral Resources okays Atlas talks with other potential buyers

Australia's Atlas Iron Ltd on Friday said Mineral Resources Ltd, which is trying to take over the iron ore producer, would allow Atlas to hold talks with other potential buyers.

Atlas said Australian mining infrastructure group Mineral Resources had consented to waive certain clauses in a so-called scheme of arrangement for the potential takeover until June 22, allowing it to explore discussions with other parties.

That comes a day after Fortescue Metals said it had built a stake in Atlas large enough to block a takeover.

In April, Mineral Resources agreed to buy Atlas via a scheme of arrangement that valued it at A$280 million ($213 million), saying at the time that the amalgamation of its existing iron ore assets in the Pilbara region with those of Atlas would lead to cost savings.

Fortescue, the world's No. 4 iron ore miner, on Thursday said it would not support Mineral Resources' takeover on the current deal terms, but said it reserved the right to do so.

Atlas shares rose in the afternoon, while Mineral Resources fell as much as 2.4 percent. The broader market was down around 0.1 percent. ($1=A$1.3141)

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Joseph Radford)