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Freeport's Grasberg Mine Operates at Full Capacity

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According to Reuters, Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.’s (FCX - Free Report) PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI) Grasberg operations in Papua, Indonesia, is currently operating at full capacity.

Freeport had announced a force majeure on shipments from PT-FI Grasberg mine after the collapse of a tunnel at the mine on May 14 that took 28 lives. While the accident occurred outside the area of mining operations, Freeport temporarily suspended mining and processing activities at the Grasberg complex as a part of the rescue and recovery operation.

However, last month, Freeport announced that it had resumed open pit mining and concentrating activities at the mine and was operating at 60% capacity after it received approval from Indonesia’s Department of Energy and Mineral Resources (DEMR).

The closure of operations at the world’s second largest copper mine affected production. The Indonesian operation lost about 115 million pounds of copper and 115,000 ounces of gold after the closure of the mine. It is apprehended that on a daily basis the mine lost about 3 million pounds of copper and 3,000 ounces of gold. The impact of the ongoing suspension of underground operations approximates 1 million pounds of copper and 1,000 ounces of gold per day.

Freeport released its first-quarter 2013 results in Apr 2013. The company’s Indonesian operation recorded copper sales of 198 million pounds in the quarter, higher than 134 million pounds a year ago. Gold sales declined roughly 28% year over year to 191,000 ounces due to lower ore grades from mine sequencing.

Freeport’s adjusted earnings (excluding one-time charges) of 73 cents per share for the first quarter beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny but missed the year-ago earnings of 96 cents.

Including debt extinguishment costs for the termination of the acquisition bridge loan facilities and acquisition costs, net income for the quarter was $648 million, or 68 cents per share. This represents roughly 15% fall from the prior-year quarter’s net income of around $764 million or 80 cents per share. The results were affected by higher costs and lower copper prices.
Revenues fell roughly 0.5% year over year to $4.58 billion in the first quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.81 billion.

Freeport currently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Brigus Gold Corp , Claude Resources, Inc. and Lake Shore Gold Corp. are currently performing well in the mining industry. While Brigus Gold holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Claude Resources and Lake Shore Gold retain a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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