China Metallurgical Corporation is in the running for the $800m sell-off of zinc assets owned by Anglo American, the FTSE 100 mining giant run by chief executive Cynthia Carroll.
Bids are due in by the end of the month and the Chinese-state run enterprise is considered one of the favourites for the role because of its financial might. Private-equity giants Apollo and First Reserve are also considering bids after a round of presentations by the division's executives.
Indian FTSE 100 group Vedanta Resources and Canadian miner HudBay Minerals are also in the mix.
UBS and Goldman Sachs are running the sale process, which is part of a series of disposals planned by Ms Carroll to refocus the business. Two months ago, Anglo sold the European assets of construction aggregates subsidiary Tarmac for $400m.
Ms Carroll, 53, joined Anglo three years ago, and is considered one of the FTSE's foremost businesswomen.
Anglo shares closed at 2979.5p on Friday, up 73p on the day. The business is valued at nearly £39bn.