Rio Tinto completes Rössing sale to China

18 July 2019

Rio Tinto has completed the sale of Rössing, the world's longest-running open pit uranium mine, to China National Uranium Corporation Limited for an initial cash payment of USD6.5 million plus a contingent payment of up to USD100 million.

Rössing (Image: Rio Tinto)

The mine is located 12 kilometres from the town of Arandis, 70 km inland from the coastal town of Swakopmund in Namibia’s Erongo region. It has been in operation since 1976 and has a nameplate capacity of 4500 tonnes U3O8 per year.

Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques said the sale demonstrated the company's "commitment to further simplifying and strengthening" its portfolio. It brings the total divestment proceeds received since 2017 to USD11.2 billion, of which USD9.7 billion has been returned to its shareholders, he added.

The Namibian Competition Commission conditionally approved CNUC's acquisition of Rössing Uranium Limited (RUL) earlier this month. It was the final approval needed for the transaction to be completed. Rio Tinto is the majority owner of RUL. The Namibian government has a 3% shareholding, but has a majority of 51% in terms of voting rights.

The USD100 million contingent payment is linked to uranium spot prices and Rössing's net income during the next seven calendar years. In addition, Rio Tinto will receive a cash payment if CNUC sells the Zelda 20 mineral deposit during a restricted period following completion.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News