Freeport making drastic cuts amid falling prices

Dec 03, 2008 | 12:05 PM | Anne Riley

Citing brutal economic conditions, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. has announced plans to curtail copper production, suspend dividends and halve its estimated capital expenditures next year.

"These revisions to our plans will allow us to reduce operating costs and capital spending, adjust our production profile to better match market requirements and preserve our valuable resources for anticipated improved market conditions," James R. Moffett, chairman, and Richard C. Adkerson, president and chief executive officer, said in a joint statement.

The Phoenix-based company's aggressive cost-reduction plan, announced Wednesday, includes a 200-million-pound (5-percent) decrease in copper production in 2009 and a 500-million-pound (11-percent) reduction in 2010.

Although the company operates a number of South American mines, the production cuts will come primarily from reduced operating rates at the company's North American operations, including a 25-percent reduction in mining and milling rates at its Morenci Mine and a 50-percent reduction in mining and stacking rates at its Safford Mine, both in Arizona. The company also will halve the mining rate at its Tyrone Mine and suspend all mining and milling activities as its Chino Mine, both located in New Mexico.....

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