Tuesday 19th Dec, 2017

Reports: Rio looking into smelter sale

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Rio Tinto is reportedly considering selling its massive Dunkerque aluminium smelter in Northern France, to take advantage of a recent price surge for the metal.

According to several media reports, the mining giant’s chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques is weighing up the sale of the asset.

The news comes amid similar speculation over Rio’s smelters in Australia and New Zealand – which have reportedly attracted interest from Glencore.

Aluminium prices have risen by roughly 30% in 2017, trading recently at more than US$2150 a tonne.

Rio Tinto has been in a mood to sell so far this year, announcing the $3.5 billion sale of its Coal & Allied coal business in the Hunter region earlier this year, to Chinese bidder Yancoal after a competitive bidding process.

Dunkerque produces roughly 270,000 tonnes of aluminium per annum, with major consumers nearby in car manufacturers and Coca-Cola.