Rio Tinto sells African uranium mine stake in latest asset disposal

Mining giant Rio Tinto has announced the sale of an African uranium business as part of its strategy to shed unwanted assets.

The Anglo-Australian firm will sell its majority stake in Namibian mine owner Rossing Uranium to China National Uranium Corp for up to 106.5 million US dollars (£83.1 million).

Rio Tinto will pocket an initial cash payment of 6.5 million dollars, followed by a contingent payment of up to 100 million dollars depending on the profitability of the Rossing mine over the next seven years.

The sale is the latest in a string of disposals announced by Rio Tinto, as the FTSE 100 firm looks to focus on core assets.

Chief executive J-S Jacques said the latest deal demonstrated the company’s “commitment to strengthening our portfolio”.

Rio Tinto has sold off the entirety of its Australian coal assets this year, striking a deal for its last Queensland mine in March for 2.25 billion US dollars (£1.75 billion). It has also offloaded its interest in Indonesia’s Grasberg.

Earlier this month it sold a wharf to LNG Canada, a large industrial energy project, for more than 500 million US dollars.

The company is also looking to dispose of its majority stake in the Iron Ore Company of Canada.

In September, it announced a new share buyback programme, which is set to return 3.2 billion US dollars to its shareholders following the sale of assets.