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Freeport McMoRan suspends dividend due to COVID-19 impact

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(Kitco News) -  Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX), one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper companies and also a major gold producer due to by-product output at its mine in Indonesia, is suspending its dividend in response to the economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Monday.

The board of directors is suspending the quarterly cash dividend of 5 cents a share that had been planned for May 1. Decisions on future payments will be at the discretion of the board and hinge on factors such as financial results, cash requirements and economic conditions, officials said.

The company also said officials are undertaking a review of operating plans at each of its copper and molybdenum operations around the world in an effort to target reductions in costs and capital spending. The company expects to report on any revised operating and financial plans when it releases first-quarter results in April.

“The prudent steps we are taking to address costs and capital spending and preserve a strong liquidity position are necessary to maintain flexibility as we respond to current global economic uncertainties and the resulting sharp decline in copper prices in recent weeks,” said Richard C. Adkerson, president and chief executive officer.

The company reported last week that the Cerro Verde mine in Peru was put on “care and maintenance” for 15 days in response to measures taken by the Peruvian government to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

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