NEW YORK Freeport-McMoRan
Copper & Gold Inc. expects its North American copper sales
will increase 7 percent this year, primarily due to higher
production at its Morenci Mine in Arizona and its Chino Mine in
The Phoenix-based company
forecast North American copper sales of 1.45 billion pounds in
2013 vs. 1.35 billion pounds last year.
The companys North
American production rose 1.8 percent to 343 million pounds in
the first quarter from 337 million pounds in the same period
last year, a direct result of improved production at Morenci
First-quarter copper sales rose
15 percent to 954 million pounds on higher production from the
companys mines in Africa and Indonesia, but net income
fell 15.2 percent to $648 million from $764 million a year
Freeport said it will continue
to ramp up its operations in Indonesia over the next several
years, aiming to start production at its Deep Mill Level Zone
Mine by 2015 and its Grasberg Block Cave Mine by 2017.
The company also is continuing
its exploration activities near existing mines in the belief
that there are "significant future potential reserve additions"
near its sites in Africa and the Americas.
Freeport said it is on track to
complete the acquisition of oil and gas producers Plains
Exploration & Production Co., Houston, and McMoRan
Exploration Co., New Orleans, by the second quarter. The
company completed $10.5 billion in debt financing in the
quarter for the pending acquisitions, consisting of $4 billion
in bank term loans and $6.5 billion in senior notes.
Freeport announced its plans to
acquire Plains Exploration and McMoRan Exploration in December
amm.com, Dec. 5). The move quickly came under fire
from critics who charged that the two different industries were
amm.com, Dec. 6).
Freeport maintains that the
acquisitions should be seen as an add-on to its mining business
rather than a diversion from it.