NEW YORK Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has credited improved demand for a rise in molybdenum prices in the second quarter.
The average realized price for molybdenum in the three months ended June 30 was $13.43 per pound, up 8.7 percent from $12.35 a year earlier, Freeport said.
"Molybdenum prices have improved during the first six months of 2014, resulting from improved demand in the metallurgical sector. (Freeport) continues to monitor market conditions and may make adjustments to its primary molybdenum production as market conditions warrant," the Phoenix-based company said.
Canned molybdic oxide prices improved significantly in the second quarter, jumping more than 40 percent to $14.90 to $15 per pound in the last week of May from $10.35 to $10.50 two months earlier, according to AMMs assessments.
Market participants attributed the surge to an increase in demand amid tightening spot supply and decreasing production in the North American market (amm.com, May 9).
Freeports molybdenum production in the second quarter totaled 25 million pounds, up 4.2 percent from 24 million pounds a year ago. The Henderson Mine in Colorado produced 8 million pounds in the second quarter, flat from a year earlier, while output at the Climax Mine in Colorado was up 20 percent to 6 million pounds from 5 million pounds.
Freeports North American copper mines produced 9 million pounds of molybdenum in the second quarter, sideways from a year earlier.
Molybdenum sales totaled 25 million pounds in the quarter, up 8.7 percent from 23 million pounds last year and beating Aprils estimate of 24 million pounds. Consolidated sales for the year are expected to be around 98 million pounds.
Meanwhile, completion of a molybdenum circuit is one of the remaining items in the upgrade of the companys Morenci copper-molybdenum project in Arizona. The circuit is expected to produce about 9 million pounds of molybdenum per year.
Commissioning of the Morenci Mine expansion began in May, with a ramp-up to full production expected by year-end.