Rio Tinto is considering an approach from H.I.G. for its aluminium assets.
The U.S. private equity firm put forward a binding offer for its specialty alumina business.
According to Rio, a period of exclusivity has already been agreed to, with the miner’s response to follow consultation with the relevant European works council.
The likelihood of the sale is high, with Rio CFO Guy Elliot stating that "the potential sale is in line with our strategy of continuing to streamline our aluminium group through the divestment of non-core assets".
In October last year, Rio announced that it would divest its Australian aluminium assets, as well as its German, French, and British assets.
Rio Tinto chief Tom Albanese said at the time that the "assets identified for divestment are sounds businesses….but are no longer aligned with our strategy".
Earlier this month, Rio announced that it was closing its Lynemouth aluminium smelter in the UK.
This latest announcement regarding its wider aluminium assets comes only a day a Rio announced it would scuttle its planned Malaysian aluminium smelter.