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Arbitrator blocks CCX talks to sell Colombia mines to Blackstone-Reuters

(Reuters) – An international arbitrator ruled that Brazil’s CCX Carvão da Colombia may not enter talks to sell three coal-mining projects in Colombia to investors represented by the Blackstone Group LP, CCX’s main shareholder said on Wednesday.

The emergency injunction an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitrator is in place until it can make a final ruling on a request by Yildirim Holding Inc, according to a statement sent to Brazil’s securities regulator CVM by Centennial Asset Management, CCX’s controlling shareholder.

The ruling also prohibits negotiations over the three mine projects with any other company besides Yildirim which entered into an asset-purchase agreement for the mines with CCX on April 26, 2014, CCX said.

CCX has said it still has pending issues in its asset sale talks with Yildirim, but that the Blackstone-led offer is “more immediate and economically more interesting.”

Centennial Asset Management is owned by tycoon and former Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista. CCX is one of the last pieces of his EBX energy, mining, shipbuilding and port operations group which crumbled in the face of missed targets, bankruptcies and falling commodities prices in 2013 and 2014.

The ICC arbitrator denied another Yildirim request to block the sale of CCX stock.

Earlier this month, CCX received an $170 million unsolicited offer for the Cañaverales and Papayal open-pit coal mining projects and an underground mining project from a group of sovereign investment funds and other large investors represented by Blackstone, the world’s largest private-equity investor.

All three projects are in Colombia’s La Guajira department.