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Rio confirms SEC Mozambique investigation

AAP logoAAP 1/12/2016 Peter Trute

Rio Tinto has confirmed it is cooperating with a US Securities Exchange Commission investigation into how it recorded a multi-billion dollar impairment on an African coal mining business it bought in 2011 and sold at a huge loss three years later.

In a statement to the ASX after the close of market on Thursday night, Rio said: "In response to press reports regarding a US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation, Rio Tinto confirms that it is cooperating with inquiries from the relevant authorities".

Rio said the inquiries relate to the impairment included in its 2012 accounts for Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM), which was sold in 2014..

"As the SEC investigation, which started in April, 2013, remains ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time," the company said.

The Australian Financial Review newspaper reported earlier this week that Rio was under SEC investigation over the Mozambique deal.

The global miner launched a $US4 billion takeover of Mozambique-focused Riversdale Mining in 2011 and renamed it RTCM.

In 2014 it disposed of RTCM for $50 million.

Rio recorded a $US2.9 billion impairment charge for RTCM in its 2012 results, a year in which the global miner posted a $US2.9 billion full year net loss.

Then-CEO Tom Albanese stepped down in the wake of the impairment announcement, which was part of $US14 billion in impairments Rio announced for 2012.

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