Diversified miner BHP Billiton says it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Pinto Valley copper mine operation and the associated San Manuel Arizona Railroad Company (SMARRCO) to Canadian base metals miner Capstone Mining (Capstone) for an aggregate cash consideration of US$650 million.

The company said that the transaction is subject to regulatory approval, and other customary conditions, and is expected to be completed in the second half of the 2013 calendar year.

Under the terms of the agreement, Capstone will assume the businesss environmental liabilities, while BHP Billiton employees working at Pinto Valley and SMARRCO will become employees of Capstone as part of the transaction.

The sale of Pinto Valley is an excellent outcome for BHP Billiton shareholders. It is consistent with our strategy and it takes the transaction value of divestments announced over the last 12 months to US$5.0 billion. We are pleased to have reached agreement with Capstone, particularly given their commitment to maintain our environmental and safety standards,” said BHP Billitons president of copper Peter Beaven.

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