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Norway's sovereign wealth fund builds Rio Tinto stake after Grasberg sale

Norway's US$1 trillion wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, built a 1.4% stake in Rio Tinto by the end of September, placing it among the top 10 shareholders in the diversified mining major, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 22.

For more than a decade, Norway refused to buy the mining major's stock due to the environmental damage caused by the controversial Grasberg copper-gold mine in Indonesia.

In 2018, Rio Tinto divested its 40% stake in Grasberg to Freeport-McMoRan Inc. in a US$3.5 billion sale. Earlier this year, the fund removed Rio Tinto from its blacklist, after receiving confirmation that the miner will not play any role in the activities or operations of the mine upon the sale's completion.

The Norway fund's investment in the miner represents the value of meeting the increasingly stringent environment standards set by some of the largest money managers.

Earlier this year, the fund said it will halt investment in companies that mine over 20 million tonnes per year of thermal coal. Mining majors Glencore PLC and Anglo American PLC are said to be affected by this standard, the newswire's report said.

Rio Tinto exited the coal business in mid-2018 after selling its 80% stake in the Kestrel thermal and metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia, for US$2.25 billion.