MINER Anglo American and Chile’s Codelco have agreed to extend talks as they seek to negotiate an agreement over Anglo Sur mining assets.
The companies jointly requested continued suspension of their months-long legal dispute at a court in the Chilean capital Santiago until 17 July.
The two sides have been waging an acrimonious battle since last October over Codelco’s long-standing option to buy a 49 per cent stake in the coveted Anglo American Sur properties, including the flagship Los Bronces mine.
Codelco has secured a $6.75bn (£4.3bn) loan from Mitsui, a Japanese firm, to pay for its share.
The option covers the Los Bronces mine, which estimates say could be the world’s fifth-biggest copper mine.
But following Codelco’s advances, Anglo said it was to sell a 24.5 per cent stake in the Anglo Sur to another Japanese firm, Mitsubishi Corp, for $5.4bn.
It said the deal offered better value for shareholders – a claim disputed by Codelco. Thomas Keller, who took the helm of the world’s top copper producer Codelco on 1 June had warned that if a deal with Anglo was not reached swiftly Codelco will revive its litigation against its London-listed rival.
Keller, who was Codelco’s chief financial officer, replaced former chief executive Diego Hernandez, who abruptly resigned due to friction with the board.
The departure of Hernandez, announced two days after the feuding miners initially agreed to pause their court battle to sit down and talk, sparked questions about whether Codelco’s strategy in the conflict might change under new leadership.
Anglo is completing a $2.5bn expansion at Los Bronces’ largest producing copper mine.
City A.M. Reporter