Done deal: Rio sells mothballed Blair Athol coal mine to Linc Energy

Done deal: Rio sells mothballed Blair Athol coal mine to Linc Energy

Blair Athol coal mine.

Australian coal, oil and gas company Linc Energy Ltd (ASX:LNC) will bring life back into Rio Tinto's (ASX, LON:RIO) suspended Blair Athol Coal mine in Queensland, after it officially acquired the asset.

As rumoured earlier this week, the energy group said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange that it was buying Rio's operation, including the mining tenure, on-site assets, and infrastructure.

Although the companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, Linc said there was no upfront cost for the acquisition, which will be done through its subsidiary New Emerald Coal.

The acquisition comes a day after Linc announced it would seek to get de-listed from the Australian market to re-list it in Singapore, in hopes of luring Asian investors that could act as a catalyst to drive the firm forward.

The deal is expected to become unconditional within six months, with mining activities to restart soon after, Linc added.

"New Emerald Coal will reopen the mine with a view to produce up to 3 million tonnes of thermal coal per year," it said.

The Blair Athol mine, in Queensland state’s Bowen Basin, had been producing coal since 1984 but Rio decided to shut the operation down last November, instead of investing on extending the mine life.

Rio Tinto is in the midst of a $5 billion cost cutting program, which aims to off-load coal stakes in Australia and Mozambique and an iron ore operation in Canada.

So far this year, it has sold $1.9 billion of assets, but also deserted the sale of an Australian aluminum business and its diamonds unit after failing to find buyers.

Image from The University of Queensland Library