• Sale of Kevitsa mine expected to be completed in May
  • First Quantum is cutting costs, selling assets to reduce debt

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. will sell its Kevitsa mine in Finland for $712 million to Boliden AB as part of plans to dispose of assets to reduce debt by $1 billion.

Boliden will pay cash for the mine that has nickel, copper and platinum-group metals, subject to customary adjustments, Vancouver-based First Quantum said in a statement Thursday. The sale requires regulatory and antitrust approvals and is expected to be completed in May, it said.

“This transaction is one of the initiatives within our plan, announced in October 2015, aimed at strengthening the company’s balance sheet and improving its capital structure,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Philip Pascall said in the statement. “We are continuing to advance other strategic initiatives, which are expected to be finalized at various times over the next several months, to meet those objectives.”

First Quantum, which got about three-quarters of its revenue from copper sales in 2015, is cutting costs and restructuring its balance sheet as producers respond to a decline in metals prices. Copper touched a six-year low in January as growth weakened in China, the world’s biggest user.

In December, Bloomberg News reported Boliden and Lundin Mining Corp. were among companies considering final bids for Kevitsa, which has one of the largest nickel reserves in Finland.

First Quantum closed up 5.4 percent in London on Wednesday, paring its decline in the past year to 60 percent. Boliden, based in Stockholm, had dropped 18 percent in the past 12 months.

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