A $12 billion oil giant is thinking about ditching the oil business

Freeport McMoRan may get rid of its oil and gas business.

In a release on Tuesday, the company said it is considering spinning off its oil and gas business to shareholders.

The goal is to focus on its core copper business, and be able to fund that with its own cash and resources.

It also announced it is reducing the size of its board to nine members from 16.

Commodity prices have been slammed this year, including copper, which fell to the lowest level in six years. Analysts said the fall in copper was partly due to concerns about China’s economy and its demand appetite.

The company said, “While taking prudent near-term steps responsive to the currently weak market conditions, FCX remains confident about the longer term outlook for copper prices based on the global demand and supply fundamentals. A primary objective will be a significant reduction over time of FCX’s current debt level.

The stock rose as much as 4% in premarket trading. It is down 52% year-to-date.

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