The FTSE 100 index was down 0.8 per cent at 5,909.24 points at its close, underperforming the broader pan-European FTSEurofirst 300.
Glencore led the mining sector higher and staged its biggest one-day gain, surging almost 17 per cent after about a third of its market value was wiped out on Monday.
Sector peer Antofagasta rose 2.2 per cent. The broader FTSE 350 mining index was up 2.9 per cent.
Wolseley shares were the worst performers in the FTSE 100, dropping 12.5 per cent after the company lowered its revenue growth outlook.
Drug maker Shire fell, down 3.1 per cent, with rivals AstraZeneca, Novartis and Roche also weakening after a US biotechnology sell-off spread to Europe.