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* FTSE 100 up 0.5%, FTSE 250 down just 0.1% after weak start
* ECB chief promises stimulus if economy does not improve
* Miners jump on higher copper prices
* AstraZeneca among biggest boost to FTSE 100
* Ashtead rises after annual results (Adds company news items, updates to closing prices)
June 18 (Reuters) - London's main stock index rose to a session high on Tuesday as a promise of more stimulus if need be from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi added to boosts for the miner-heavy index from rises in copper prices.
The main FTSE 100 index, up only marginally in the first minutes of trading, jumped half a percent after Draghi said the bank would need to ease policy again if inflation did not head back to its target.
The FTSE 250 midcap index also recovered some ground but was still down around 0.1% by 0828 GMT.
The comments came as investors await a two-day meeting of the Fed that money market pricing shows should clear the way to a cut in interest rates by the central bank next month.
After falling for the first month this year in May, the FTSE 100 is on course for its biggest monthly rise since January as investors grow hopeful of more official moves to help growth after months of turbulence over Sino-U.S. trade tensions.
Tool hire firm Ashtead rose 1%, outperforming the FTSE 100, while miners were up 1.1% at a near two-month high as a key mine in Chile halved output due to a strike, pushing copper prices higher.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca was the second-biggest boost after its cancer medicine Lynparza was approved as a first-line maintenance treatment for a type of advanced ovarian cancer by the European Commission. Rival GlaxoSmithKline also climbed.
Weakness in the dollar overnight, triggered by expectations of rate cut signals, capped gains on the main index, which earns more than two-thirds of its profits in the greenback.
Other corporate news was more mixed, with Russian steel company Evraz dipped 2.6% following 11 consecutive sessions of gains as VTB Capital cut rating on the blue-chip stock to "Hold".
London-listed shares in Old Mutual , South Africa's second-biggest insurer, also slipped 2.8% after the company fired suspended CEO Peter Moyo due to a conflict of interest with an investment firm he founded.
FTSE 250 component Woodford Patient Capital Trust, run by well-known fund manager Neil Woodford, slipped about 6% to a lifetime low. The suspension of one of Woodford's flagship funds earlier this month has now knocked roughly one third off of WPCT's value.
Shares in contractor Kier Group gained 4.2% after steep falls in the previous session when it announced plans to sell some businesses, suspended its dividend and said it would cut hundreds of jobs. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)