Rio Tinto to continue asset sales with Pacific Aluminium and diamond unit disposals

Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, Montreal

Global miner Rio Tinto Plc (LON:RIO, ASX:RIO), which has already sold assets worth USD12bn (EUR9.3bn) since 2008, sees substantial cash coming in next year from the sale of further operations, including its Pacific Aluminium and diamonds businesses, CFO Guy Elliott said today.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a seminar with investors, CEO Tom Albanese said the mining group will focus on cost control in 2012, 2013 and maybe beyond that, as it aims to cut USD7bn in costs over the next two years.

Rio Tinto announced plans to sell its diamonds business earlier this year and may have to take another charge on its aluminium business at the end of 2012, Elliott said. Increasing input costs and declining markets over the past five years hit Rio’s Alcan unit, resulting in the miner taking a USD8.9bn charge on the aluminium business in February 2012.

Since 2008, Rio Tinto has sold more than 20 assets. Further disposals are seen to protect it against decreasing commodity prices. At the same time the group is focusing on growing the output of its lucrative iron ore operations.

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