MELBOURNE, April 29 BHP Billiton has
agreed to sell its Pinto Valley copper mine and a railroad in
Arizona to Capstone Mining Corp for $650 million, the
latest in a spate of asset sales by the top global miner as it
tightens its belt in a weaker market.
BHP and its global mining peers have put billions of dollars
worth of mines, projects and aluminium operations up for sale as
they look to slash costs, cut debt and focus on their highest
returning assets as commodity prices slump.
Pinto Valley takes BHP's total asset sales over the past 12
months to $5 billion.
The Australian company flagged earlier this year that it was
looking to sell around 10 more assets, without naming them.
Analysts had said Pinto Valley was a likely target, along with
aluminium, manganese and some petroleum operations.
The deal gives Vancouver-based Capstone its third producing
mine. With forecast production of 130-150 million pounds of
copper in concentrate and about 10 million pounds of copper
cathode a year, the mine will more than double the company's
Cash costs at the mine, which restarted operating in
December 2013, are estimated at $1.80 a pound, Capstone said.
"Pinto Valley represents a unique opportunity to acquire a
mid-sized producing copper mine in a well-established and
low-risk mining jurisdiction with a significant mineral
resource," Darren Pylot, President and CEO of Capstone, said in