JOHANNESBURG, Sept 25 Rio Tinto has
agreed to sell two small coal assets in South Africa to Forbes &
Manhattan Coal for 440 million rand ($53 million) as
part of its strategy to shed smaller operations.
Rio Tinto spokesman David Outhwaite said the coal assets
being sold were too small for its portfolio.
Rio Tinto is also divesting from South Africa's largest
copper producer Palabora Mining but the company has
invested elsewhere in the country, doubling its stake in
Richards Bay Minerals, a producer of titanium dioxide, earlier
this month in a $1.9 billion deal with BHP Billiton.
Forbes Coal in a statement said the acquisition will boost
its total production by 39 percent to 2.5 million tonnes a year.
Forbes Coal is taking a 74 percent interest in the Zululand
Anthracite Colliery, a producing anthracite mine, and 74 percent
in the Riversdale Anthracite Colliery ("RAC"), an undeveloped
mine. The remaining 26 percent stakes in each asset are in the
hands of black economic empowerment partners.
Policy uncertainty and a wave of violent strikes in the
platinum sector this year have unnerved some foreign investors
in South Africa's mining sector.