BHP considers selling Canadian diamond assets

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The world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, on Wednesday said it was reviewing its Canadian diamond businesses and was considering whether to fully or partially sell the assets.

BHP has an 80 percent stake in the EKATI diamond mine, which produces over three million carats of rough diamonds a year, and 51 percent ownership of the Chidliak exploration project.

The Anglo-Australian miner said its strategy was to invest in large, long-life, upstream and expandable assets and the review would determine whether the diamond assets continued to fit the profile.

"This review will, therefore, examine whether a continued presence in the diamonds industry is consistent with BHP Billiton's strategy and evaluate the potential sale of all or part of the diamonds business," the company said.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of January.

BHP's announcement follows South Africa's Oppenheimer family this month ending a century in the diamond business, selling their 40 percent in De Beers to global miner Anglo American for $5.1 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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