Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) digs its profits from copper and precious metal mines around the world. In 2011 FCX's proven and probable reserves totaled 119.7 billion pounds of copper, 33.9 million ounces of gold, and 330.3 million ounces of silver. Copper, in concentrates and in refined products such as cathodes and anodes, accounts for most of FCX's sales. Its 91%-owned subsidiary, PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI), operates the vast Grasberg gold, copper, and silver mine in Indonesia, while the government owns the other 9%. FCX is also engaged in smelting and refining via PT-FI's 25% stake in PT Smelting, a copper smelter and refinery in Indonesia. FCX is the world's #2 copper company behind Codelco.
FCX has seven copper mines in North America (Morenci, Sierrita, Bagdad, Safford and Miami in Arizona, and Tyrone and Chino in New Mexico); four in South America ( Cerro Verde in Peru, and Candelaria, Ojos del Salado and El Abra in Chile); the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia; and Tenke Fungurume minerals district in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also has molybdenum mining assets, primarily in Colorado. Other FCX units include the Rod and Refining copper conversion segment in North America, and Atlantic Copper, which operates a copper smelter in Spain.
FCX's overall strategy is to acquire and develop copper, gold, and other mining resources, and develop them to their full potential. It seeks to grow its production, improve efficiencies, and generate increased cash flows and profits through its mining operations. In 2011 the company increased production at several copper mines and started several projects to expand production volumes, extend mine lives and develop large-scale underground ore bodies. Projects included restarting the Chino mine and accelerating work at the Morenci mine in the North American Copper Mines region, ramping up activity at several projects in the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, and investing $2 billion to increase copper production at Tenke, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
FCX's revenues increased by 10% in 2011 thanks to a 439% increase in North America Copper Mines revenues primarily due to increased production at the Morenci, Miami and Chino mines. It also reported a 16% growth in Africa mining revenues as a result of higher production, and an 18% growth in Molybdenum segment revenues due to improved demand. However, Indonesia Mining revenues decreased by 14% due to lower copper and gold sales volumes as a result of labor-related disruptions and the temporary suspension of milling operations.
The company's 2011 net income increase was a more modest 3.7% as higher debt repayments ate into the gains derived for higher revenues and a decrease in interest expense. – less