London's Sunday Times (sub required) reports Anglo American (LON:AAL) is closing in on a deal to hand over a share in the Los Bronces copper project to Chile's Codelco at "a discount of several billion dollars" some time this week.
The legal battle between Anglo American and Codelco – the state-owned miner is the world's number one copper producer by a wide margin – dates back to October last year.
At the time and barely a week after Anglo American announced that the $2.8 billion they splashed on expanding Los Bronces will start to bear fruit, Codelco decided to exercise an option that dates back to 1978 to acquire half of it.
Codelco had passed on neighbouring Los Bronces, a smelter and a second mine before, but this time the copper giant put together the $6 billion called for in the option agreement exercisable in January which analyst say short changes Anglo by billions.
What must really gall Anglo, which appeared to have been taken by surprise by Codelco's move, is that they will have to pay around $1 billion in taxes on the transaction.
British media reported last week that Anglo’s top shareholders are demanding that CEO Cynthia Carroll be shown the door.
If the Codelco terms turn out to be correct it would provide further ammunition to those calling for Carroll's head.
With a share price down 26% in six months, shareholders also fear that the world's largest platinum producer could be the target of a hostile takeover.