Rio Tinto has agreed to sell its 68.62 per cent stake in Rössing Uranium to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC) for up to $US106.5 million ($147.6 million).
Rössing’s primary project is the Rössing uranium mine in Namibia, Africa. The mine celebrated its 40th year of production in 2016 and is one of the largest and longest-lived uranium open pits in the world.
In 2017, Rio Tinto’s share of production at Rössing was 3.19 million pounds of uranium from an overall 4.65 million pounds.
Despite its strong legacy, however, the mine has not performed to Rio Tinto’s expectations lately — in 2017, the mine was impaired by $US267 million due to oversupply.
The agreement with CNUC comprises an initial cash payment of $US6.5 million, to be followed by a contingent payment of $US100 million.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastian Jacques said the sale of the Rössing interest demonstrated the company’s commitment to strengthening its portfolio and focusing on core assets.
“Rio Tinto has a long history in Namibia and I would like to thank the many people across Rio Tinto and the communities in which we operate who have contributed to the success of Rössing,” Jacques said.
The company also owns 100 per cent of the Roughrider uranium asset in Canada.