Rio Tinto to sell some Scottish aluminum assets to SIMEC for $410 mn

Mining giant Rio Tinto Plc struck a deal to sell its aluminum-related operations, including a smelter and hydro power plant in Scotland, to privately-owned SIMEC for $410 million.

The sale is part of the London-based company's earlier plan to divest some of its less profitable aluminum operations.

The sale comprises Rio Tinto's 100-per cent shareholding in Alcan Aluminium UK Ltd, which includes the operating smelter, the hydroelectric facilities at Kinlochleven and Lochaber as well as all associated land.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios, said, ''This is a value-creating sale for Rio Tinto and represents another example of refining our portfolio to focus on our suite of tier one assets.

''At the same time, our priority has been to ensure a long-term sustainable future for Lochaber and economic benefit for the wider Fort William community. There was significant interest in the assets, but SIMEC is committed to continuing operations at the smelter and working with the community on further economic development,'' he added.

The smelter will be operated by Liberty House Group, SIMEC's subsidiary within the international GFG Alliance.

GFG Alliance strategic board executive chairman Sanjeev Gupta said, ''This is a significant boost to our renewables portfolio and will be another major step towards reducing our carbon footprint in metals production.''

Gupta recently acquired two steel mills in Scotland from Tata Steel and had planned to bid for Tata's remaining U.K. operations, but Tata Steel entered into exclusive talks with German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG to create a European joint venture.

Rio Tinto has now agreed more than $1.3 billion in divestments this year, bringing the total value of divestments announced or completed to $5.3 billion since January 2013.