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Freeport-McMoRan Corporation, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX - Analyst Report), has entered into a services agreement with Hill International , Inc. (HIL - Snapshot Report), a global provider of construction claims and project management services. Under the pact, Hill will provide construction consulting and professional services to Freeport-McMoRan.

Per the agreement, Hill is expected to extend project and program management, cost estimating, cost control, scheduling, staff augmentation and other construction consulting and related technical services to Freeport-McMoRan at various U.S. and global locations.

Mining giant Freeport-McMoRan released its fourth-quarter 2012 results in Jan 2013. The company’s adjusted earnings (excluding one-time gains) of 74 cents per share for the fourth quarter were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Profit for the quarter stood at $743 million or 78 cents per share, a 16.1% rise from the prior-year quarter’s profit of $640 million or 67 cents per share. The results were aided by higher copper and gold production.

Revenues jumped roughly 8.4% year over year to $4.51 billion in the fourth quarter but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.52 billion.

Freeport-McMoRan is conducting explorations close to its existing mines with a goal to boost reserves, which will facilitate the development of additional future production capacity across the large minerals districts where it operates.

As per the company’s exploration data, there are opportunities for meaningful future reserve additions in North and South America as well as in the Tenke Fungurume minerals district in Congo’s Katanga province.

Freeport-McMoRan is optimistic about its African operations considering the potential at Tenke. Moreover, the acquisitions of Plains and McMoRan Exploration will usher in new opportunities. However, a weak global economy is still affecting demand for copper and production costs remain a concern.

Freeport-McMoRan currently retains a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Other companies in the mining industry worth considering are Aluminum Corporation Of China Limited and Paramount Gold and Silver Corp. (PZG - Snapshot Report). Both of them hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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