Xstrata exits Queensland copper project

Australian miner, Altona Mining will have to look for a new partner to develop its Queensland copper project or go it alone after Xstrata decided against acquisition of a majority stake in the project.

Llast year Xstrata indicated it would exercise its option regarding buying a 51-per cent stake in Altona's Roseby copper-gold project in the state's north-west.

However the two parties had different ideas about the price for Roseby, which the brokers put at $100 million to $180 million - even after an independent valuer was brought in. Altona announced Xstrata's exit today.

As investors lost of confidence in the stock, Altona's shares decline three cents, or 10.7 per cent, lower to 25, with a market capitalisation under $150 million.

Roseby held strategic value for Xstrata, being located less than 100km away from its own Mt Isa-Ernest Henry mines in the region.

According to Altona's managing director Alistair Cowden there was no threat from Xstrata's move to prospects of Roseby's development.