Anglo American set to kick off $1bn sale of Brazilian business in bid to prop up balance sheet

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The mining sector has taken a hit over the last year with commodities prices plummeting (Source: Getty)

Anglo American is poised to kick off the $1bn (£680m) sale of its Brazilian niobium and phosphate business as the firm attempts to raise cash to prop up its ailing balance sheet.

Facing a rapid decline in demand for commodities off the back of an economic slowdown in China, Anglo American said in December that it would sell the operation as part of a disposal programme.

The company said it will reduce the number of mines in its portfolio from 55 to between 20 and 25 as it sharpens its focus on its most lucrative and cost effective operations.

Chief executive Mark Cutifani last year signalled that 85,000 jobs would be lost in the process.

The Brazilian operation is the biggest Cutifani has put up for sale.

Shares in Anglo American have nosedived recently as the price of metals such as iron ore and platinum have plummeted.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have reportedly been mandated to run the auction process with a number of potential suitors circling.