A report from the South China Morning Post said Shenhua was planning to buy Rio’s stake in Coal & Allied.
Shenhua chief executive Chen Biting said the company was hunting acquisitions in Australia, Mongolia and Indonesia.
The report remains unsubstantiated.
Rio coal division communications and media manager Alison Smith told International Longwall News Rio Tinto does not comment on speculation.
In the meantime, Rio will announce its full-year results on February 12.
Estimates on Rio’s 76% stake of Coal & Allied have varied between $US3.72 billion and $US6.5 billion.
Shares in Rio fell back 6% or $2.63 this afternoon to $41.30 at close of trade.