The third largest mining company in the world by market capitalisation – Rio Tinto, has disclosed that industrial materials group Imerys has offered $340 million (£209 million) for its talc business.
Rio Tinto has sold assets worth $11 billion since 2008 as part of its strategy to focus on large scale assets. Rio Tinto Minerals, which owns the group’s talc and borates business, reported a net profit of $199 million in 2010.
Rio had reinitiated the talc business division sale process last March and had received many offers, including offers from private equity groups.
Talc is the softest naturally occurring rock and has many applications, including chewing gum, body powder, ceramic tiles and animal feed.
Rio had put its borates and talc business on the block in late 2008, but withdrew after the economic crisis hit the world.