[MELBOURNE] Global miner Rio Tinto Plc has agreed to sell one of its last remaining coal mines in Australia to a group owned by Indonesia's third-richest man, Anthoni Salim, continuing an exit from coal as it battles a sharp slump in prices.
Rio Tinto said on Monday it was selling its Mount Pleasant thermal coal assets in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to a private company, MACH Energy Australia Pty Ltd, for US$224 million plus royalties.
MACH is an entity owned by Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group.
The royalties from the mine would only be paid when coal prices top US$72.50 a tonne, well above the current price of US$47.37.
"We believe Mount Pleasant can have a very positive future under its new owners with different priorities for development and capital allocation," Rio Tinto copper and coal chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in a statement.
The sale of the Mount Pleasant mine, which has marketable reserves of 474 million tonnes, follows Rio Tinto's sale of its stake in the Bengalla joint venture last year for US$606 million and leaves it with the Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth mines.