Anglo American to sell niobium and phosphates assets to China Molybdenum for $1.5 bn

Diversified mining giant Anglo American today agreed to sell its niobium and phosphates assets to China Molybdenum for $1.5 billion in cash in order to reduce debt.

London-based Anglo American had earlier said that it would divest assets worth around $4 billion in order to cut net debt to under $10 billion by the end of the year.

"The proceeds from this transaction, together with the ongoing productivity and cost improvements we are driving through the business, will enable us to continue to reduce our net debt towards our targeted level of less than $10 billion at the end of 2016," CEO Mark Cutifani said in a statement.

Last month it agreed to sell its 70-per cent stake in the Foxleigh metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia to a consortium led by Taurus Fund Management.

The miner has been also selling off its coal and other assets in order to focus on copper, platinum and diamonds.

Anglo American, which plans a complete exit from Brazil, had asked for first-round bids for its niobium and phosphates assets in Brazil by 15 February.

The niobium and phosphates assets consist of mines, plants, processing facilities, chemical complexes and deposits located in Brazil.

Niobium is used in high-temperature alloys for jet engines and lightweight steel for cars, while phosphates are used for coating steel and for fertilizer.

It produced 2,934 metric tons of niobium in the first half of 2015.

Anglo American's niobium assets contributed $35 million to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, while the phosphates business had output of 513,000 tons with Ebitda of $52 million.