Freeport confident of more copper asset sales by mid-year: CEO – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.K. – April 26, 2016)

Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX.N) expects to have agreed $3 billion worth of asset sales by mid-year, its chief executive said on Tuesday, as the U.S. miner and oil producer tries to whittle down a nearly $21 billion debt pile he described as “a killer.”

Freeport, which is the world’s biggest listed copper producer, has already entered into agreements this year to sell $1.4 billion worth of assets, leaving another $1.6 billion’s worth to transact by end-June.

Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said Freeport was in “advanced discussions” on a number of its copper assets, but declined to name them. Freeport owns a number of world-class copper assets, including the Grasberg mine in Indonesia and the Cerro Verde mine in Peru.

“The scarcity of quality assets in the copper business is attracting significant interest from potential purchasers who share our longer term positive view of the marketplace,” he said on a conference call.

While the Phoenix, Arizona-based company expressed confidence in selling mining assets it also revealed a plan to cut about a quarter of workers in its oil and gas business after failing to sell that unit.It said it would record a charge of about $40 million in the second quarter related to the job cuts and other restructuring costs.

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