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Asarco fight nears end; decision seen by Aug. 31

NEW YORK, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The winner of a battle over control of bankrupt copper miner Asarco LLC could be decided by Aug. 31, the company’s attorney said on Wednesday.

Judge Richard Schmidt of the bankruptcy court in the Southern District of Texas is expected to rule by Aug. 31 which of two companies will end up controlling the miner’s assets, said Jack Kinzie of Baker Botts LLP.

“The confirmation hearing, like the case itself, was long and arduous, but Asarco’s creditors and other parties in interest were well served by the process,” Kinzie said in an e-mail. “The final decision rests now with Judge Schmidt.”

At issue is whether India's Sterlite Industries STRL.BO can buy and control Asarco's operating assets or whether Mexican miner Grupo Mexico SAB de CV GMEXICOB.MX will retain its ownership of Asarco. Grupo Mexico owns Asarco, but does not control it because of the bankruptcy.

The two groups wrapped up final arguments on Tuesday after a two-week hearing in federal court in Texas.

Asarco has been under Chapter 11 protection for four years.

The case is In re: Asarco LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 05-21207. (Reporting by Chelsea Emery. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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