Miner Rio Tinto gives away loss making coal mine to Linc Energy

Suzie Neuwirth
RIO TINTO yesterday said it has agreed to give away a coal mine in Australia to local firm Linc Energy, which plans to reopen the mine and create over 100 jobs.

The FTSE 100 mining giant has been selling off a number of its non-core assets as part of its strategy to cut costs after the commodities bubble burst.

Rio Tinto and its joint venture partners closed the Blair Athol coal mine last November, as its resource had nearly run out after 30 years in operation and it was losing money.

Analysts have suggested that a smaller company with lower overheads like Linc Energy could run the mine more cheaply.

Linc said it aims to produce up to three million tonnes of coal per year from the asset. The transaction is expected to complete within six months.

“Rio has clearly taken a long-term view on the mine and seen that it wasn’t material to keep it in the company’s portfolio,” said Peter Mallin-Jones, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity.

“Linc are also taking on the environmental liabilities for the project, so the deal isn’t quite as cheap as it looks.”