Rio Tinto to sell stake in Australian coal mine for $1bn

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Image caption Rio says it remains committed to mining in Queensland

Rio Tinto is to sell its 50.1% share in Australia's Clermont thermal coal mine to Swiss commodities giant Glencore Xstrata and Japan's Sumitomo.

Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio will receive $1.02bn (£630m) from the sale of the facility in Queensland state.

"The sale... will allow us to realise value for our shareholders as we continue optimising our portfolio," a Rio statement said.

Coal mined from Clermont is burned to produce electricity.

Rio said it remained "committed to a long-term future in central Queensland" at its other mines.

The firm has announced or completed divestments so far this year of some $2.92bn.

Sell-offs include a controlling stake in Australia's Northparkes gold and copper mine to China Molybdenum, the sale of a majority holding in South African copper producer Palabora to a Chinese consortium and transfer of the Eagle nickel and copper project in the US to Canada-based Lundin Mining.

This summer Rio reported a 71% fall in half-year profits, partly due to reduced demand from China.

Earlier in October, it said it was making good progress on a cost-cutting programme.

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