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Mitsubishi to Double Copper Output After Chile Mine Expansion

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Mitsubishi Corp., Japan’s biggest commodity supplier, plans to almost double its copper output in 2012 after spending $5.39 billion to buy a minority stake in Anglo American Plc’s Chilean unit.

The Tokyo-based trading house’s copper production will rise to 250,000 metric tons, compared with 140,000 tons last year, Mitsubishi said Feb. 1 in an earnings statement on its website. The increase is due to an expansion at the Los Bronces mine in Chile, which will produce 440,000 tons this year from 260,000 tons last year, Mitsubishi said.

Mitsubishi acquired 24.5 percent of Anglo American Sur SA, the owner of the Los Bronces mine, in November. Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper company, filed a lawsuit in a Santiago court on Jan. 10 that seeks to annul the Mitsubishi sale. Codelco says the transaction was aimed at thwarting its bid to exercise a right to buy a 49 percent stake in the Sur unit.

Anglo American ranked at No. 6 in copper output with 645,000 tons in 2010, according to London-based metals-consulting company CRU.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuriy Humber in Tokyo at yhumber@bloomberg.net

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

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