Rio Tinto gears up for $2bn Queensland mine sales – by Bridget Carter and Scott Murdoch (The Australian – February 10, 2017)

Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is believed to be hiring Bank of America Merrill Lynch to sell its Queensland coking coal assets that are estimated to be worth about $2 billion.

BAML was the bank that was hired by Anglo American to sell its Moranbah North and Grosvenor mines in the state for at least $1bn to private equity firm Apollo before the vendor changed its mind and the deal collapsed.

Both Rio and BAML have declined to comment, but it is understood that BAML will be formally mandated in the weeks ahead once the Moranbah sale is officially off. Up for sale by Rio is its Hail Creek Mine, 120km southwest of Mackay in central Queensland, which supplies international markets with hard coking and thermal coal.

It will also sell its Kestrel mine, 40km northeast of Emerald in central Queensland as it distances itself from the commodity and instead focuses on other core markets such as aluminium and iron ore.

Expected to line up for an acquisition are the groups that were competing for the Moranbah asset, including private equity firm Apollo, Xcoal, BHP Billiton with its joint venture partner Mitsubishi, Glencore and Coronado Coal.

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