Xstrata sells its interest in El Morro copper mine

MINING group Xstrata agreed to sell its 70 per cent interest in the El Morro copper-gold project in Chile for $465m (&pound;294m) to Canada&rsquo;s Barrick Gold, Xstrata said yesterday. <br /><br />&ldquo;While we have demonstrated through the feasibility study that El Morro has strong prospects, our agreement with Barrick is a recognition that it will create more value as part of Barrick&rsquo;s portfolio than Xstrata Copper&rsquo;s,&rdquo; said Charlie Sartain, who heads Xstrata&rsquo;s copper division.<br /><br />&ldquo;The sale will enable us to better direct our resources toward our other priority development projects.&rdquo;<br /><br />Xstrata, the world&rsquo;s fifth biggest diversified mining group by market value, said the deal was expected to close before the end of January.<br /><br />Xstrata acquired El Morro, which is located 4,000 meters above sea level in north-central Chile, when it bought Canada&rsquo;s Falconbridge in 2006.