uploads/2015/03/us-mining1.png

Why Freeport’s North American operations are so important

By

Updated

Freeport’s North American operations

We’ve already looked at Freeport-McMoRan’s (FCX) global mining assets. It’s also important to look at the company’s significant operations in North America.

Teck Resources (TCK) and Southern Copper Corp. (SCCO) also have major operations in North America. In this part, we’ll see why Freeport’s North American operations are so important.

Freeport currently forms 3.35% of the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB). Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM) forms 2.23% of XLB.

Article continues below advertisement

Mining assets in North America

Freeport’s North American operations include seven operating copper mines, five in Arizona and two in New Mexico. Freeport has reserves of 35.6 billion pounds of copper and 2.42 billion pounds of molybdenum in North America.

Freeport’s copper operations in North America consist of open pit mining, sulphide ore concentration, leaching, and extraction operations.

In Colorado, Freeport operates two molybdenum mines. Freeport is the largest producer of molybdenum and molybdenum-based chemicals in the world. In addition to the two molybdenum mines in Colorado, Freeport also produces molybdenum concentrates at some of its North American copper mines.

Freeport also has copper rod and refining operations in North America. These operations cast the majority of its North American copper production into rods. Its refining operations consist of smelting, refining, and producing specialty copper products. The above chart shows the various components of copper’s value chain.

Specialty copper

Freeport produces specialty value added copper at its operation in Bayway, New Jersey. These products are used in a wide array of industries such as aerospace, transportation, and electronics.

The company also produces ultra-fine medical cables and coils for magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI) units.

Along with copper and molybdenum, Freeport has a diverse portfolio of energy assets in the United States. We’ll look at these in detail in the next part of this series.

Advertisement

More From Market Realist