April 22, 2019 / 5:36 AM / a month ago

JXTG declines to comment on Caserones copper mine sale report

TOKYO, April 22 (Reuters) - JXTG Holdings, a Japanese oil refiner and miner, on Monday declined to comment on a media report that it is exploring the sale of its majority-owned Caserones copper mine in Chile.

The Wall Street Journal said on Friday that JXTG is exploring the sale of Caserones, which could gain the company about $1 billion, citing people familiar with the matter.

“We can’t comment on the report as that is not something that we have decided,” said a spokesman at JX Nippon Mining & Metals, a mining and smelting unit of JXTG Holdings.

The Caserones project is 51.5 percent owned by JX Nippon Mining, 25.87 percent by Mitsui Mining and Smelting Co Ltd and 22.63 percent by Mitsui & Co.

A Mitsui Mining spokesman declined to comment on whether they are considering a sale of their stake.

A spokesman for Japanese trading house Mitsui declined to comment.

Copper concentrate output at Caserones rose to 82,000 tonnes during the April to December period from 64,000 tonnes a year earlier.

But the project has been behind schedule since it started producing copper concentrate in May 2014 in the arid mountains of northern Chile.

The problems at the mine highlighted the challenges facing miners in Chile as they scrabble through far-flung locations now as more accessible deposits have largely been tapped out. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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