Rio exploration spend to halve

MINING GIANT Rio Tinto is halving its exploration spending this year, but is taking advantage of the downturn to buy cheap assets in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rio&rsquo;s exploration chief Eric Finlayson said yesterday.<br /><br />The group, which is grappling with massive debt, has put expensive drilling operations on hold until conditions in depressed metals markets improve. Spending this year on both greenfield and brownfield projects is budgeted at $115m (&pound;69m), down from $235m in 2008. He added that Rio wants to sell some projects.