Johannesburg - Anglo American, which is reviewing its operations worldwide, had withdrawn from the Pebble copper project in Alaska, it said yesterday.

Anglo said it expected to record a $300 million (R2.9 billion) charge at the year-end as a result.

Anglo held half of Pebble and Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals held the rest. Rio Tinto holds about 19 percent of Northern Dynasty, which will become the sole owner of Pebble.

Anglo chief executive Mark Cutifani, who took over from Cynthia Carroll in April, is reviewing operations as part of a plan to sell assets and realise an annual cash flow gain of $1.3bn. The company might seek buyers for some of the 15 Anglo assets it had identified for potential divestment, Cutifani said on July 26.

“Our focus has been to prioritise capital to projects with the highest value and lowest risks within our portfolio,” he said yesterday.

“We have taken the decision to withdraw following a thorough assessment of Anglo American’s extensive pipeline of long-dated project options.”

Anglo had been required to fund $1.5bn of the project costs to keep its stake, taking the site through its permitting and construction phase, according to Northern Dynasty’s website.

Pebble in south-west Alaska is estimated to hold 81 billion pounds of copper, 5.6 billion pounds of molybdenum and 107 million ounces of gold, according to Northern Dynasty’s website.

Rio Tinto objected to proposals to develop Pebble as an open-pit mine and expressed that view to Anglo, its then chief executive, Tom Albanese, said in April 2012.

Anglo had hired Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS to sell as much as 49.9 percent of its Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said in June.

Anglo shares were barely changed on the JSE yesterday, closing at R246.84 from R246.68 on Friday. – Bloomberg