Fortescue sells quarter of joint venture to BC

Shares in iron ore miner Fortescue Metals have soared after its joint-venture partner BC Iron agreed to buy half of Fortescue's stake in a Pilbara project.

BC Iron is paying Fortescue $190 million for an extra 25 per cent of Nullagine, which will take its total interest in the project to 75 per cent.

That will leave Fortescue with a quarter share in the joint-venture.

As a result BC Iron's annual production will increase by 80 per cent to 4.5 million tonnes, which the miner says will improve earnings, cash flow and value per share.

Fortescue says it will use the proceeds of the sale to manage its debt load and also to potentially help fund its planned, but recently delayed, Kings mine.

BC's shares remain in a trading halt, Fortescue's share were up 7.5 per cent to $4.075.

Fortescue's share price has also been helped by Chinese trade data that showed a 16.6 per cent surge in iron ore imports last month.

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