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Freeport Reports Higher 1Q Net income; Copper, Gold Output Rise

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Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) reports first-quarter net income rose to $692 million, or 47 cents per share, from $228 million, or 16 cents, in the same period a year ago. After adjusting for net gains of $13 million, the adjusted profit was $679 million, or 46 cents. Freeport is the world’s largest publicly traded copper company but is also a major gold producer. First-quarter copper sales of 993 million pounds were in line with the January estimate of 1 billion and were higher than first-quarter 2017 sales of 809 million pounds, primarily reflecting higher operating rates in Indonesia, Freeport says. First-quarter gold sales of 610,000 ounces were lower than the January estimate of 675,000, primarily because of lower-than-expected mill throughput rates associated with maintenance activities at Grasberg. However, gold sales were higher than 182,000 in the year-ago quarter due to higher ore grades and operating rates in Indonesia. First-quarter molybdenum sales of 24 million pounds were in line with the January estimate and year-ago total. “We continue to engage in negotiations with the Indonesian government to restore long-term stability for our Grasberg operations and look forward to reaching a mutually positive resolution,” says Richard C. Adkerson, president and chief executive officer. The company is in talks with the government over mining rights and construction of a smelter. “Our improved financial position enabled our board to reinstate cash dividends to shareholders and a continuation of strong results and positive market conditions will enable further strengthening of our balance sheet, investments in attractive long-term growth projects and the consideration of additional cash returns to shareholders,” Adkerson says. Last month, Freeport declared a quarterly cash dividend of a nickel per share, which will be paid on May 1.  Consolidated sales for the year 2018 are expected to be around 3.8 billion pounds of copper, 2.4 million ounces of gold and 95 million pounds of molybdenum, including 970 million pounds of copper, 700,000 ounces of gold and 24 million pounds of molybdenum for the second quarter.

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