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Originally published Monday, October 19, 2009 at 4:03 PM

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Report: Judge weighs fate of copper miner Asarco

A bankruptcy judge said Monday he would not immediately give control of copper mining company Asarco LLC to Grupo Mexico SAB despite the latter's winning bid in a court auction, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Associated Press

NEW YORK —

A bankruptcy judge said Monday he would not immediately give control of copper mining company Asarco LLC to Grupo Mexico SAB despite the latter's winning bid in a court auction, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Andrew Hanen said he would consider a broad array of issues before ruling in the case, the Journal said.

Asarco holds valuable mineral assets and owns a Texas refinery. Group Mexico won an August bankruptcy auction to take back its former unit, but a union for Asarco employees and the company's court-appointed management want another bidder, Sterlite Industries Ltd., to have control.

The paper quoted Hanen said saying he would consider the union's concerns.

Sterlite originally offered $2.6 billion to buy Asarco out of bankruptcy court protection but it lowered the offer amid the recession. Grupo Mexico ultimately won the bid, but Mumbai-based Sterlite has since sweetened its offer.

The court has determined that creditors would be paid in full whether Grupo Mexico or Sterlite took over Asarco.

Last year Hanen said Grupo Mexico was guilty of defrauding creditors by diverting copper owned by Asarco in Peru to another of its units. The Mexico City-based conglomerate has appealed that ruling.

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