UPDATE 1-Freeport collects export permit after Pence visit
* Workers concerned over future employment amid contract dispute (Recasts with permit granted, adds comments on Pence, trade ministry comment)
BEIJING Dec 9 Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) , the country's biggest lender by assets, said on Friday it has signed a 10 billion yuan ($1.45 billion) debt-for-equity swap with Shandong Gold Group to reduce the company's debt burden.
This deal marked ICBC's first debt-for-equity swap since Beijing launched the scheme in October in a bid to reduce its $18 trillion in corporate debt, equivalent to 169 percent of domestic output.
Shandong Gold Group, China's second biggest in terms of gold production and gold reserves, will see its corporate leverage lowered by 10 percentage points after the debt swap, ICBC said in a statement. ($1 = 6.8990 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting By Shu Zhang and Nicholas Heath; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
* Workers concerned over future employment amid contract dispute