Rio Tinto attracts several buyers for Australian coking coal mines

Rio Tinto attracts several buyers for Australian coking coal mines

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is expected to begin an official sales process for its Hail Creek and Kestrel coking coal mines in Queensland, and has already attracted scores of potential buyers.

A host of private equity and public companies are set to bid for the operations in the coal-rich Australian state, with analysts expecting the mines to sell for more than US$2 billion each.

An anonymous source close to the matter said: “There’s a lot of interest in a limited number of opportunities in Australian coking coal and that’s driving the frenzy for Hail Creek and Kestrel.”

If divestment deals can be completed for the two mines, it would complete Rio Tinto’s exit from the Australian coal mining sector, following the earlier sale of its Coal & Allied thermal coal division in New South Wales.

The Anglo-Australian mining giant agreed to sell its Hunter Valley division to China’s Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL) for a fee of $2.45 billion in January.

Rio Tinto has not formally announced the sale, but has previously declared its ambition to focus on growth in its iron ore, copper and aluminium businesses, at the expense of its coal operations.

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