Global copper miner Freeport McMoRan expects to sell about 1.7mn mt of copper in 2021, provided the expansion of underground mining at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia is completed.
In the full year 2020, the miner produced and sold 1.45mn mt of copper, down 3pc from 1.49mn mt in 2019. Production fell short by 1.5pc from 1.47mn mt in 2019.
From its seven North American mines, Freeport produced close to 643,200mt of the red metal last year, down 2.6pc from 660,883mt in 2019. Combined output from the company’s Cerro Verde mine in Peru and El Abra mine in Chile fell by 20pc in 2020, standing at 444,066mt of copper, compared with 536,600mt in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted mining operations in these countries. However, Freeport plans to increase milling rates back to pre-pandemic levels soon, once local authorities allow for it.
Copper production from Grasberg increased by 33pc in 2020 to 366,956mt from 275,330mt in 2019. The company expects to produce about 635,000mt from the mine in 2021 after the ramp-up is completed.
In the fourth quarter, the company’s copper sales stood at 392,810mt, falling by 4.6pc from 410,954mt in the same period of 2019. However, Freeport said that sales were 3pc higher than the guidance released in October 2020.
For the full year 2020, the miner reported revenue of $14.2bn, compared with $14.4bn in 2019. Freeport posted a net income of $599mn for 2020, rising from a loss of $239mn a year ago.