$2.45 billion China deal clears; Rio Tinto wins coal exit

After winning approval from Australia’s foreign investment regulator to sell the bulk of its mines to a company controlled by China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. for $2.45 billion, Rio Tinto Group is closer to an exit from thermal coal.

According to Bloomberg, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approved the Coal & Allied deal, leaving the world's second-largest miner with only two producing coal mines in the country.

Reinhold Schmidt (pictured), Yancoal CEO, said in a statement:

"The FIRB approval is a positive step forward for Yancoal, its shareholders and the Hunter Valley, demonstrating the Australian Government's support for continued investment into the local resources sector."

The deal is the first major transaction by Rio under CEO Jean Sebastien Jacques, and may build momentum for other takeover deals.

Both Rio and Yancoal Australia still require shareholder approval. The transaction is expected to wrap up in the third quarter of this year.