Mining and Heavy Industries

Rio completes coal exit with Kestrel sale

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Rio Tinto will sell its majority stake in the Kestrel underground coal mine in Queensland for US$2.25 billion.

The mining giant on March 27 announced, subject to regulatory approvals, it would sell its entire 80% interest in Kestrel to a consortium of EMR Capital and PT Adaro Energy.

EMR is a private equity manager. PT Adaro Energy is an Indonesian coal miner.

Rio announced the sale a week after it sold the Hail Creek coal mine to Glencore for $1.7 billion, and the undeveloped Winchester South coal project to Whitehaven for $200 million.

Presuming all sales go through, Rio has now completed its planned exit from the coal sector.

“The sale of Kestrel, together with the announced divestments of Hail Creek and our undeveloped coal projects, delivers exceptional value to our shareholders and will leave our portfolio stronger and more focused on delivering the highest returns through targeted allocation of capital,” Rio boss J-S Jacques said.

Once the Kestrel sale is completed, Rio says it will have to account for capital gains or losses before addressing a current estimated tax bill for Kestrel in the order of around US$500 million.

Since 2013, Rio has announced more than US$11 billion in asset sales, including roughly US$9 billion in coal assets.

Along with the sales announced last month, Rio sold its Hunter Valley coal mine, rail and port infrastructure last year for roughly US$2.7 billion, following the US$606 million sale of its 40% stake in the Bengalla coal mine, and the US$220 million divestment of the Mt Pleasant coal project in 2016.

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