Rio Tinto plans to sell its Aluminium Dunkerque smelter in France to industrial and metals company Liberty House Group for $US500 million ($A700 million).
The mining giant says it has received a binding offer from Liberty House – the company that bought Rio Tinto’s Lochaber smelter and assets in Scotland in December 2016 – which includes plans to modernise the site.
Rio will launch a consultation process with employees, relevant European works councils and other stakeholders, and expects a sale to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.
Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said the offer represents the best option for future development of the smelter site.
“Liberty House has a track record of investing in similar assets, which should secure a long-term sustainable future for Aluminium Dunkerque and continued economic benefit for the wider community,” Mr Barrios said in a statement.
Rio Tinto shares were down 21 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $79.05 at 1150 AEDT.