Rio divests talc business

City A.M. Reporter
RIO Tinto has received a binding $340m (3210m) offer from industrial materials group Imerys for its talc business.

Selling the business is part of Rio’s plan to focus on large-scale assets. The miner has made divestments of more than $11bn since 2008.

Rio Tinto Minerals, which includes the talc and borates business, posted a net profit of $199m in 2010.

Last March, Rio said that it had restarted the process of selling its talc business and had received interest from a range of parties, including private equity groups.

Talc, the softest rock in the world, is used in animal feed, ceramic tiles, chewing gum and many everyday products including body powder.

Rio had put its talc and borates businesses up for sale in late 2008 but pulled it due to the global economic crisis.

Buyer Imerys is a French group that specialises in mining and distributing rare resources for use in batteries, ceramics, paper and construction materials.