Freeport-McMoRan expects copper sales to reach 1.7 mln tonnes in 2021

Copper producer Freeport-McMoRan expects to see its 2021 copper sales reach about 3.8 billion pounds, or 1.7 million tonnes, while it continues its transition to underground mining at Grasberg in Indonesia.

This is an increase from 3.2 billion lbs, or 1.4 million tonnes, on 2020 – a year in which the United States-based company faced the suspension of operations at Cerro Verde in Peru due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cerro Verde, which also produces molybdenum concentrate and silver, is Peru’s largest copper mine and the world’s fourth largest.

The company said that projected group sales volumes for this year are dependent on various factors, including continued progress with increasing output at Grasberg, the impact and duration of the pandemic, along with the timing of shipments.

Freeport said that, this month, it had restarted its Chino copper mine in the US state of New Mexico, as expected.

The mine was closed after several workers tested positive for Covid-19.

The company expects to achieve molybdenum sales of 85 million pounds, or 38,555 tonnes, in 2021, up from 80 million lbs (36,287 tonnes) in 2020, but still down from 90 million lbs (40,800 tonnes) in 2019.

Freeport operates two wholly-owned molybdenum mines in Colorado – the Henderson underground mine and the Climax open-pit mine. Most of the molybdenum concentrate produced at the mines is processed at the company’s on-site conversion facilities.