Queensland coal asset sale could net Rio Tinto $2 billion

Rio Tinto may be considering the sale of two more coal mines in Queensland worth around $2 billion.

Reports suggest that banks have been invited to tender to advise Rio on the sale of the Hail Creek and Kestrel mines.

Located in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, these assets mainly produce coking coal used in steelmaking.

Hail Creek and Kestrel produced a combined 10 million tonnes of coking coal and 4.6 million tonnes of thermal coal in 2016.

Reports from London, where Rio is headquartered, indicate that the mining giant has had unsolicited offers for the coal assets.

This follows the company’s strategic retreat from the commodity.

Despite Rio stating that it would make no comment on market speculation, Merril Lynch is rumoured to be favourite to win the role.

This news comes as Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland, which was sold by Rio Tinto to TerraComm, is expected to begin mining in March and create 600 jobs in Clermont.

Rio Tinto has announced $US7.7 billion of asset sales since 2013.