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Murchison in Talks to Sell Crosslands Stake, Halts Shares

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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Murchison Metals Ltd., planning a A$5.94 billion ($5.93 billion) iron ore rail and port project in Australia, said it’s in talks to sell its stake in the development joint venture with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp.

The company had its shares halted from trading until Nov. 23 to enable the continuation of “confidential and incomplete discussions” to sell its 50 percent stake in Crosslands Resources Ltd., Perth-based Murchison said today in a statement.

Murchison said in September it was revising plans for the Oakajee project after failing to secure funding. Murchison and Mitsubishi are also planning a A$3.7 billion expansion of the Jack Hills iron ore mine in Western Australia, which had been scheduled to start in the first quarter 2012.

The company’s shares have plunged 73 percent in the last six months.

Murchison in July appointed Rothschild and O’Sullivan Partners to help with a strategic review. Posco, the world’s second-biggest maker of stainless steel, is Murchison’s largest shareholder.

Oakajee port in August last year signed initial agreements with potential customers of the project including Karara Mining Ltd., a venture between Gindalbie Metals Ltd. and China’s Anshan Iron & Steel Group and Sinosteel Midwest.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net

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