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By Eric Onstad
LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Glencore has taken another step to reduce its debt by selling $500 million of future precious metals output and reported a drop in production of its most lucrative product, copper.
The Swiss-based mining and trading company said overnight that it had agreed to sell future precious metals production from its Antapaccay mine in southern Peru to Toronto-based Franco-Nevada
The Antapaccay deal follows Glencore’s agreement in November to sell future silver output to Silver Wheaton Minerals for $900 million in cash.
Glencore reported on Thursday that fourth-quarter copper output fell 5.7 percent to 374,700 tonnes after it shut down mines to counter sliding prices of the metal widely used in power and construction.
The company announced plans last September to suspend 400,000 tonnes of copper output at its Katanga Mining unit in Democratic Republic of Congo and at Mopani Copper Mines in Zambia over an 18-month period.
The moves were part of efforts to regain the confidence of investors after Glencore came under pressure to cut net debt of about $30 billion — one of the highest debt piles in the sector — as prices for commodities such as copper and coal hit multi-year lows. (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by David Goodman)