The thermal coal mines put up for sale include Clermont and Blair Athol thermal-coal mines in Queensland, which are expected to fetch about $1bn, reported The Wall Street Journal.

In addition, it is also keen on divesting 29% stake in its subsidiary Coal & Allied to reduce its ownership in the company to 51%; it currently owns 80% interest in the company.

The sale of the Australian properties is on the lines with Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh’s plans to increase the returns of its shareholders through cash proceeds generated in divestment over the year 2013.

Rio Tinto acquired majority stake in Coal & Allied in partnership with Mitsubishi in a deal worth $11.1bn. The subsidiary owns mines in the state of New South Wales.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has sought for assistance of Deutsche Bank to execute the sales.

The move to divest its stakes in thermal coal mines follows the lowest drop in price of commodity in last three years.

Also, BHP Billiton is also outlining plans to exit 10 non-core businesses including Gregory Crinum metallurgical coal mine in Queensland.