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BHP sells US copper assets for $650 million

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Global mining titan BHP Billiton on Monday announced the sale of its Pinto Valley mining operation and rail assets in the United States to Capstone Mining Corp for US$650 million.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, BHP said it had signed a definitive cash agreement with Canadian base metal miner Capstone.

The deal for the open-pit copper mining operation east of Phoenix in the Globe-Miami district of Arizona is subject to regulatory approval and expected to be completed in the second half of 2013.

BHP Billiton president copper Peter Beaven said: "The sale of Pinto Valley ... is consistent with our strategy and it takes the transaction value of divestments announced over the last 12 months to US$5.0 billion."

With profits hit by weak commodity prices and cool Chinese demand, BHP brought in new management, focused on core assets and declared a war on costs.

In February, the company posted a plunge in first-half net profit of 58 percent to US$4.2 billion, hurt by steep falls in commodity prices.

However, BHP affirmed on April 18 full-year guidance for its major products, reporting a "robust" March quarter of output. It said it expected to meet full-year targets with solid performances at iron ore and coal sites.

BHP has 100 percent ownership in both Pinto Valley and the associated San Manuel Arizona Railroad Company which operates a 47-kilometre (30-mile) railway from San Manuel to Hayden, Arizona.

Under the sale, Capstone will assume environmental liabilities at the mine.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130428/bhp-sells-us-copper-assets-650-million