Its interests in six Australian and New Zealand assets will transfer into a new business unit called Pacific Aluminium. It will be managed and reported separately from the Rio Tinto Alcan product group.

These are the Gove bauxite mine and alumina refinery, Boyne Smelters and the associated Gladstone Power Station, the Tomago smelter and the Bell Bay smelter in Australia and its New Zealand Aluminium Smelters in New Zealand.

A second group of seven non-core assets will continue to be managed by Rio Tinto Alcan while it investigates sale options. These include three alumina plants and the Gardanne refinery in France and Germany, the Sebree smelter in the USA and the Lynemouth smelter and power station in UK.

Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said "The assets identified for divestment are sound businesses that are well-managed with productive workforces. But they are no longer aligned with our strategy and we believe they have a bright future under new ownership.”

The chief executive of Pacific Aluminium will be Sandeep Biswas. He will report to Rio Tinto business support & operations group executive Bret Clayton.