Rio Tinto has completed the $500 million sale of its French aluminium smelter, freeing up cash it says will be returned to shareholders.
Liberty House, which is part of the Gupta family group, plans to continue operations at the smelter in Dunkirk and to develop around the site.
Rio has yet to say how it will return the cash, although the mining giant has already announced nearly $US4 billion in buybacks since September 2017.
‘As previously announced, the proceeds will be returned to shareholders, with the precise timing and form to be announced with Rio Tinto’s 2018 full year results,’ Rio said in a statement on Monday.
Rio had also agreed to sell its ISAL smelter in Iceland but said in September it was seeking a new buyer after Norwegian renewables company Hydro withdrew its offer.
At 1010 AEDT, Rio’s ASX-listed shares were up 61.5 cents, or 0.82 per cent, at $75.185.