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Codelco will spend $5 billion in 2012, Chile court hands it minor victory over Anglo

Bloomberg reports Chile’s state-owned firm Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, plans to invest $5 billion in 2012 on capital projects, more than twice the $2.3 billion it allocated last year.

Also on Friday a Santiago court blocked Anglos from selling any more shares in its Sur subsidiary while it battles Codelco over an option to acquire 49% of its Chile operations. At stake is one of the world’s richest copper deposits reports Bloomberg.

An agreement with Anglo American Plc (AAL) in January over the Anglo Sur unit in central Chile is very unlikely, Hernandez told the Santiago-based evening newspaper. Codelco will not soften its position, Hernandez said.

In November Anglo American sold a 24.5% stake in its southern Chilean properties to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. for $5.39 billion, undermining plans by Codelco to exercise the option which can be exercised every three years in January.

Chile decided at the end of October, barely a week after Anglo American announced that the $2.8 billion they splashed on expanding their flagship Los Bronces mine will start to bear fruit before year end, to exercise the 34-year old option that has lapsed before, blindsiding Anglo.

Platts reports in December, an attempt by Codelco to force Mitsubishi to hand over particulars of the deal collapsed and on January 2, Codelco formally informed Anglo American that it was exercising the option.

Anglo said the Mitsubishi transaction values its Chile properties at $22 billion. Codelco was offering $6 billion for 50%. Over and above the lowball offer from Codelco, what must really gall Anglo is that they would have had to pay around $1 billion in taxes on the transaction. Copper accounts for roughly a third of Anglo’s profits.