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REPORT: Codelco to Buy Anglo American's Copper Assets in Chile

The worlds largest copper producer Codelco is reportedly interested in acquiring copper assets from Anglo American, which is expected to sell at least t...

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|Feb 22|magazine5 min read

The world’s largest copper producer Codelco is reportedly interested in acquiring copper assets from Anglo American, which is expected to sell at least three of its Chilean copper mines and a smelter.

“We are currently evaluating the optimal structure for our copper portfolio in Chile and will be engaging with a range of our stakeholders over the coming months as part of this evaluation process,” said an Anglo American spokesman.

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Anglo is currently in the midst of wide-ranging efforts to cut costs and remove less-profitable parts of its business.

The UK miner hopes to raise $1 billion by the sale of its Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde mines, along with its 50.1 percent share in the El Soldado mine and Chagres smelter.

The deal seems ideal for Codelco. The company is also looking to boost copper production by 35,000 tons in 2015 and plans to invest about $22 billion in its mining operations by 2018. The state-run company also recently formed its own smelters business division, making the addition of Chagres a natural fit to grow the unit.

Despite plans to sell its copper assets in Chile, Anglo American will keep its larger operations, which include Los Bronces and Collahuasi.

Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani has repeatedly stated he plans to increase the company’s return on capital to at least 15 percent by 2016. That will include plans to divest from certain parts of the business.

According to one analyst, Anglo is in no hurry and will take a strategic, sensible approach without overpromising on delivery.

"Anglo doesn't need the cash desperately, so it's more about aligning the portfolio correctly rather than trying to reduce the debt level. It can probably be seen as neutral - proceeding but slow, focusing on the right assets."