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Minera Andes puts back Los Azules spin-out, cites ongoing litigation

Toronto stock exchange listed Minera Andes announced on Friday the proposed spin-out of its copper assets, including the 100%-owned Los Azules project, has been deferred.

The gold, silver and copper exploration company cited weaker financial markets, financing uncertainties, and a delayed legal decision regarding its dispute with TNR Gold Corp over claims on the Argentinean property, as contributing to the board’s decision.

Los Azules is located in the cordilleran region of San Juan Province, Argentina near the border with Chile. It is one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper deposits with a mineral resource of 10.3bn pounds of copper (inferred) and 2.2bn pounds of copper (indicated).

Minera Andes said in May that TNR Gold Corp. and its subsidiary, Solitario Argentina, S.A. had amended their pleadings to add a new claim in the ongoing litigation regarding a portion of the Los Azules project. The amended claims have caused the trial, which was scheduled for June 2011, to be delayed.

Minera Andes has two other assets in Argentina: a 49% interest in Minera Santa Cruz SA, owner of the San Jose Mine in close proximity to Goldcorp’s Cerro Negro project and 100% ownership of a large portfolio of exploration properties in Santa Cruz province, Argentina.

The company had $31m in cash as at February 7, 2011 with no bank debt. Rob McEwen, Chairman and CEO, owns 31% of the shares of the company.

For the full press release about the deferred spin-out click here. For more on the dispute with TNR Gold Corp. go here.

Image of the Los Azules copper exploration project supplied by the company.

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