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Rio Tinto seeking bids for French aluminium plant

  • Rio Tinto plans to sell a 100-year-old aluminium plant in southeast France as the global mining group continues its shift away from the ailing sector.

    The group's Rio Tinto Alcan division, which operates the Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne plant, said the upcoming renewal of a 30-year-old electricity contract with EDF had prompted the firm to sell the site.

    "We're focusing our efforts on the sale process, which is progressing well," a spokeswoman for Rio Tinto Alcan said on Wednesday. "We have received expressions of interest."

    The group expects to end a first stage of preliminary offers "in a week or two" before entering talks with interested parties about possible bids for the site.

    Rio Tinto has already sold three plants in France this year that produce alumina, an ingredient in aluminium. The move is part of an estimated $8 billion worth of aluminium assets put up for sale in 2011.