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Rio Tinto sells mine to Chinese-led consortium

By Du Juan (

10:02, December 13, 2012

Rio Tinto Plc, the world's third-largest miner by market capitalization, has reached agreement to sell its 57.7 percent share in South Africa's Palabora Mining Co for $373 million to a consortium led by Hebei Iron and Steel Group, China's biggest steelmaker.

Hebei's share of that stake is 35 percent, while the other consortium partners are China's General Nice Development Ltd (25 percent), and Tewoo Group Co Ltd (20 percent), and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd (20 percent).

The deal still needs to be approved by the South African and Chinese regulatory authorities, which will take about four to six months, said a statement from Rio Tinto.

"Palabora is a good business but is no longer a natural fit within Rio Tinto's portfolio," said Guy Elliott, its chief financial officer.

"Selling our stake reflects Rio Tinto's policy of continually reviewing our portfolio to generate best value for shareholders."

Palabora's main asset is a copper mine in South Africa's Limpopo province that also produces vermiculite and magnetite, according to public information.

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