Global miner Rio Tinto has sold most of its stake in U.S. coal miner Cloud Peak Energy Inc for $499 million in an underwritten secondary offering as part of its divestment programme.

Rio kept a 48 percent stake when spinning off Cloud Peak in an initial public offering in November 2009 to cut debt.

The Anglo-Australian miner will sell 25.6 million shares of Cloud Peak at $19.50 per share, it said on Thursday. Rio's remaining 6.2 percent stake could also be sold if underwriters exercise an over-allotment option.

Cloud Peak shares closed at $20.01 on Wednesday.

Total proceeds from the divestment of its U.S. coal unit, Energy America, comprising Cloud Peak and the separate sale of Jacob's Ranch, would total at least $2.0 billion, Rio said.


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