Anglo American sells 24.5% of Chilean copper assets to Mitsubishi for $5.39 bn

Global diversified miner Anglo American yesterday sold a 24.5-per cent stake in its Sur copper mining complex in southern Chile to Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp, for $5.39 billion, valuing the copper miner at $22 billion.

Mitsubishi's investment will give it 24.5 per cent of the Chilean unit's copper assets, or equivalent to 250,000 metric tons in 2012.

The sale will undermine state copper company Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile's (Codelco) plans of exercising an option to buy the stake.

Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, said last month that it would exercise its option of buying a 49-per cent stake in Anglo American Sur in January 2012, at a price much lower than the market value.

Last month Codelco had secured a $6.75-billion bridge loan from Japan's Mitsui & Co to exercise its option of buying a 49-per cent stake, which would value Anglo American Sur at $13.5 billion. Mitsubishi's $5.39-billion deal for just 24.5-per cent stake values the copper miner at $22 billion.

London-based Anglo American had acquired the Sur complex in 2002 from ExxonMobil in a $1.3-billion deal.