Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani. File picture: Reuters

Johannesburg - Anglo American has sold two of its copper mines in Chile for a total of at least $300 million - an amount it says could increase to $500 million.

In a statement to shareholders issued on Monday, the group notes it had sold its Norte copper business, which comprises the Mantoverde and Mantos Blancos copper mines, located in northern Chile.

The sale has been made to an investor consortium led by Audley Capital Advisors, with Orion Mine Finance as the principal co-investor. The amount has been paid in cash and the deal is not subject to any customary regulatory conditions.

Anglo American, which has been battling falling metals prices and recently posted a steep fall in first-half profit , plans to cut thousands of jobs.

Anglo, the fifth-biggest diversified global mining group by stock market capitalisation, will cut about 6 000 of its almost 13 000 office-based and other non-production roles globally, 2 000 of which will be transferred through the sale of some assets. In the longer term, Anglo, which employs 151 000 staff worldwide, aims to reduce its workforce by about a third, it said.

CEO Mark Cutifani has said, if market conditions soured further the company would consider putting up for sale more of its underperforming assets than currently planned.

On Monday, Cutifani said the sale of the copper asset was a “good outcome for Anglo American, both in terms of the up-front value achieved, the potential upside geared to the copper price and the continued delivery of our asset disposal programme”.

He added: “In line with our strategic objectives, we are focusing our diversified portfolio on our largest and most value accretive assets, which include the Los Bronces and Collahuasi copper mines in Chile and the Quellaveco copper project in Peru.”

Audley aims to enhance the mines to extend their lives to meet its expected view of constrained copper supply in the medium- and long-term, says CEO of its mining unit, John MacKenzie.

“I ... believe that Chile remains one of the most attractive destinations for mining investment.”

Copper is currently at $2.27 a pound, having fallen from almost $2.8 in just more than a month.