Rio Tinto to sell closed Blair Athol coal mine

Rio Tinto to sell closed Blair Athol coal mine

The company 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.

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) is finally ready to offload its currently closed Blair Athol coal mine in eastern Australia in a move to reduce coal assets, as the commodity has suffered a steep fall in prices, The Australian reports.

Talks with Linc Energy Ltd (ASX:LNC) are said to be at an advanced stage and an agreement may be announced as soon as Thursday, the source said.

Blair Athol mine in Queensland state’s Bowen Basin has been closed since November after Rio Tinto decided to shut it, instead of extending its mining life.

At the time, Rio said there were at least 10 million metric tons of coal left at the mine, which operated for nearly 30 years.

Annual production peaked at 11.3 million tons in 2009, dipping to 2.6 million tons in 2012 as the company scaled down operations.

The giant miner 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.

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