February 16, 2012 / 6:04 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-Mitsubishi to buy Peru copper project stake-source

LIMA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Corp is expected to buy an 18 percent stake in Peruvian copper project Quellaveco, a source in Peru with knowledge of the deal and The Nikkei said on Thursday.

Mitsubishi would buy the stake from the International Finance Corp, a lending arm of the World Bank, for about 60 to 70 billion yen ($761.04 million to $887.87 million), the daily reported.

In September, global giant Anglo American, which owns nearly 82 percent of the project, said it needed $3 billion in capital to build the project. The mine is slated to open in 2015 or 2016 and produce around 225,000 tonnes of copper a year. It would have a 30-year lifespan.

Anglo American declined to comment and the IFC could not be reached for comment. The source in Peru said the deal could be formally announced on Friday.

Mitsubishi has shown increased interest in South American copper assets, partly to feed growing Asian demand for the red metal. Chile and Peru are the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 copper producers, respectively.

Last November, Mitsubishi agreed to acquire a 24.5 percent stake in Anglo’s southern Chilean properties for $5.4 billion.

That deal upset Chile’s state-run miner Codelco, which thought it had an option to buy 49 percent of Anglo’s assets in southern Chile and has filed a lawsuit to fight its case.

$1 = 78.92 yen

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