Officials at top iron ore exporter Vale SA have sold their $1.8 billion interest in Norwegian aluminum-maker Norsk Hydro ASA. This 90% stake represents half of the holding’s value when the Brazilian company acquired it in 2011.

The miner has been selling assets, mothballing projects and focusing on more profitable iron-ore to recover from falling global demand. “The offering is consistent with discipline in capital allocation and value maximization,” company officials said in a statement. Last week, Vale posted its first quarterly profit increase in more than two years.

In all, Vale received $1.08 billion in cash and a 22% stake after selling its bauxite and alumina assets in Brazil to the aluminum producer. In Q1 2011, the deal’s value stood at $5.27 billion, Norsk Hydro said. In February, Vale announced a $975 million write down on the Norsk Hydro investment value within $5.66 billion in charges and impairments during Q4 2012.

Vale, Norsk Hydro's No. 2 shareholder after the Norwegian government, which owns 34%, has agreed not to sell any more Norsk Hydro shares through Q2 2014 following the deal’s completion.

In September, the Rio de Janeiro-based miner sold $1.2 billion in a cargo unit to Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and a Brazilian government fund after $1.47 billion of asset sales last year, including a Colombian coal mine. As part of further cost-reduction efforts, Vale officials are also working to combine nickel operations in Canada’s Sudbury basin with those of Swiss mining and commodities titan Glencore Xstrata Plc.

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