Rio Tinto: Not trying to sell assets

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RioTintoSam Walsh Reuters. Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh.

Washington - Mining giant Rio Tinto is not actively trying to divest assets this year but would consider any attractive offers, chief executive Sam Walsh said on Friday.

Rio, the world's third largest miner, has been divesting assets that it no longer considers core.

Speculation has centred on coal operations in Mozambique, South Africa and Australia, but Walsh said there were no firm plans.

“If somebody comes along with a large chequebook and makes an attractive offer, of course we'll consider that, no matter what the commodity is, but we are not out in the market seeking for people to buy our assets,” he told reporters.

“We have no need to divest any assets during 2014, we are focusing on the final work to get our balance sheet back in strength.”

Rio said earlier this week it had boosted iron ore output at its Australian operations to 290 million tonnes a year, earlier than expected.

Meanwhile, rivals such as BHP Billiton may face disruptions from a threatened tugboat strike at Australia's main iron ore port of Port Hedland.

Asked if Rio Tinto had spot cargo to fill the breach, Walsh said the company was already shipping to capacity.

“We are basically shipping flat-out, but we don't operate our iron ore operations out of Port Hedland,” he said. - Reuters

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