It's been a busy -- and apparently dangerous -- week for Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto originally stated that it didn’t know why the employees were abducted and detained. Today it came out that the Chinese government is holding them on espionage charges. Rio acknowledged that it is aware of the allegation but is "not aware of any evidence that would support such an investigation.” The identities of the other three employees are unknown, but it appears that one of the detainees is Stern Hu, the general manger who oversees Rio's iron ore operations in China.
Rio Tinto recently spurned a $19.5 billion investment in its operations and assets by Aluminum Corp. of China
Instead of accepting the Chinese investment, Rio conducted a rights offering that raised $15.2 billion and entered into an iron ore joint venture with mining giant BHP Billiton
Beyond that, Rio Tinto has announced that it is selling the U.S. packaging business that it acquired with Alcan to Wisconsin-based Bemis Co.
And with all this occurring, Rio Tinto, BHP, and Brazil's Vale
But the obvious key for Rio Tinto at this juncture is the safe return of its missing employees. Once that's accomplished, I'd suggest that Fools return their investment attention to this very solid mining and metals entity.
For related Foolishness: