SYDNEY Nov 29 The U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission is investigating a $3 billion impairment charge
booked by miner Rio Tinto in 2013 on the value of a
Mozambican coal asset, two sources familiar with the matter said
The shock impairment, less than two years after Rio bought
Mozambique-focused Riversdale Mining in 2011, helped trigger the
departure of the group's then chief executive, Tom Albanese.
The sources, who cannot be named as the matter is not
public, said the ongoing discussions on Riversdale with U.S.
regulators were around accounting practices and were not related
to the group's headline-grabbing troubles around a payment to a
high-level adviser in Guinea.
Rio Tinto declined to comment.
Earlier this month, Rio reported to U.S., UK and Australian
authorities that it had uncovered 2011 emails detailing a
payment to a French consultant who had assisted the group in
Guinea. That year, Rio had successfully reclaimed the right to
mine part of the giant Simandou iron ore project.
It is not clear whether any of those regulators has yet
begun a formal investigation, though Rio is carrying out an
internal inquiry into the emails and the payment.
(Reporting by Clara Ferreira Marques and Jamie Freed; Editing
by Muralikumar Anantharaman)