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Japan buys US$435m Xstrata’s stake in Canadian coal operations

Cecilia Jamasmie,, March 14, 2012

Japanese JX Nippon Oil & Energy acquired a 25% of diversified miner Xstrata Coal operations in Western Canada for US$435 million, creating a joint venture that will build the business and market coal in Japan, said the companies.

The assets include First Coal tenements and the Lossan and Sukunka coal deposits in northern British Columbia, which Xstrata Coal (LON:XTA) acquired last year. The company retains the remaining 75% interest and will develop, operate and manage the assets on behalf of the joint venture, while JX will be the exclusive marketing agent for First Coal and Sukunka coal in Japan.

“There are meaningful synergies between these assets, creating the opportunity to develop a substantial and efficient complex of mining assets, unlocking significant value for our shareholders and other stakeholders in our operations,” said Xstrata Coal CEO Peter Freyberg.

Last week, the diversified mining giant announced it was buying a 236 million tonnes coking coal deposit in British Columbia from Talisman Energy, primarily an oil and gas firm.

Japan’s steel companies are keen to reduce their dependence on Australian coking coal, particularly after low supply early last year as a consequence of devastating floods in Queensland — the core of Australia’s coal mining industry, reports Reuters.

The massive Peace River coalfields supply China and Asian markets of the steelmaking ingredient.

Metallurgical coal has been trading at around the $220–$235 per tonne level in January this year, down from record levels of $330/tonne last year.