September 6, 2017 / 11:25 PM / 2 years ago

Rio Tinto raises coal reserve estimate for Australia mine

The Rio Tinto mining company's logo is photographed at their annual general meeting in Sydney, Australia, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed

(Reuters) - Global miner Rio Tinto said it has increased its estimate of coal reserves by 50 percent at the Kestrel mine in the Australian state of Queensland, which it has reportedly put up for sale.

Rio Tinto said on Tuesday that it now estimates ore reserves at the Kestrel mine at 185 million tonnes, up from 123 million tonnes previously.

Reuters reported in May that the miner planned to sell its Kestrel and Hail Creek mines in coal-rich Queensland as part of a full exit from Australian coal to focus on iron ore, copper and aluminum.

The new estimates followed “rigorous examination of leases that included an updated geological model, updated mine layout, revised coal product classifications and revised loss and dilution and productivity assumptions,” Rio said in a statement.

Rio Tinto has an 80 percent stake in Kestrel. It is yet to formally announce a sale, but has already attracted scores of interested buyers, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Analysts expect each of the mines to sell for more than $2 billion.

Reporting by Sandhya Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Byron Kaye and Richard Pullin

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