Clermont mine
Rio Tinto has agreed to sell its majority stake in Australia’s third-largest thermal coal mine to Glencore Xstrata and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation for just over $1 billion, pushing ahead with plans to focus on larger, core operations. Rio put its 50.1 percent stake in the Clermont mine in Queensland on the block earlier this year, but appetite had been considered by industry advisers to be weak, given a poor outlook for coal prices and high costs in Australia. The sale – for $1.015 billion in cash – will be a welcome boost for Rio’s plan to sell down unwanted assets, as the world’s third-largest miner pares debts of $22 billion, cuts costs and tries to meet shareholder demands for better returns.