This week has been dominated by mining companies keen to sell stakes to raise funds for priority projects.

Australian firm Xstrata Copper signed an agreement with Canadian mine operator Barrick Gold to sell a 70% stake in El Morro SCM, the owner of the Chile-based El Morro copper-gold project, for $465m. The all-cash deal, subject to several stipulations prior to conclusion, is likely to conclude before 30 January 2010.

The funds will be used by Xstrata for priority development projects, five of which are progressing to final decision stages over the coming months.

Meanwhile, Sentula Mining has agreed to sell its 49.9% stake in the Koornfonetin coal mine in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province to a consortium comprising Africa Commodities Group and Bravura Group for $93.4m.

Sentula said it has restructured its $218m senior debt facility, and is seeking a $68m rights offer to accomplish the debt restructure.

Steel major ArcelorMittal also decided to adopt the divestment route. It has signed an agreement to sell its 28.6% interest in Wabush Mines in Canada to Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines for $34.28m.

ArcelorMittal’s share in Wabush Mines is no longer a major part of its mining strategy. In 2008, the Wabush mine represented 31 million tonnes of iron ore reserve and 1.2 million tonnes of iron ore generated for the company.

Rio Tinto is aiming to complete the second tranche of investment in Ivanhoe Mines that will increase its stake from 9.9% to 19.7%. The second tranche includes 46.3 million shares at an $8.38 subscription price for a $388m total consideration.

And Barrick Gold subsidiary Barrick (PNG) Exploration has signed an agreement with Coppermoly and its subsidiary Copper Quest PNG to provide $18.1m for acquiring a stake in the Coppermoly New Britain Island projects.

Under the agreement, Barrick can acquire a 72% stake in Coppermoly’s exploration licences EL 1043 (Nakru), EL 1077 (Simuku) and EL 1445 (Talelumas) through a farm-in and joint venture deal.

In China, Jilin Jien Nickel Industry also raised its offer for acquiring a stake in Canadian Royalties, the developer of the $500m Nunavik nickel-copper-platinum mine in Northern Quebec, by 30%, after obtaining the Royalties board’s assent.

The new bid represents an outlay of $192m, up from the previous $147m. The new offer is scheduled to close on 27 October.