LONDON (Reuters) - Miner Xstrata has sold a stake in its burgeoning Canadian coking coal operations to JX Nippon, forming a joint venture with the Japanese oil refiner to build the business and market the coal in Japan.
JX Nippon's Australian unit paid $435 million in cash for a 25 percent stake in Xstrata Coal British Columbia, the companies said on Tuesday.
Xstrata has been building its presence in the Peace River coalfield in northern British Columbia, acquiring First Coal in August, the Lossan deposit in October and the Sukunka coal deposit last week.
The miner said it would develop and operate the assets, and JX would be the exclusive marketing agent for First Coal and Sukunka coal sold in Japan.
"JX and Xstrata Coal have built a strong relationship over the years via our Oakbridge joint venture. This opportunity has great significance for JX as it marks our entry into the hard coking coal market," said JX Nippon president Yasushi Kimura.
Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter