July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world's second-largest copper producer, said it may expand processing capacity at its El Abra mine in northern Chile.
Freeport may build a copper mill in partnership with Codelco, Chile's state-owned copper company, Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson said yesterday on an earnings conference call, according to transcripts. Codelco, the world's largest copper miner, holds 49 percent of the project and Freeport owns the rest.
"That's a very significant opportunity for us," he said.
Adkerson is increasing Freeport output at operations where the company slowed output in the past two years as the global economic slowdown cut demand. The company is evaluating projects in South America, North America, Africa and Asia to boost copper production.
Separately, Freeport plans to spend $725 million through 2015 at El Abra to extend the life of the mine by a decade, Adkerson said.
Freeport based in Phoenix said yesterday that second- quarter profit topped analysts' estimates because of higher- than-forecast sales of the metal.
Futures for September delivery gained 5.85 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $3.1515 a pound at 9:04 a.m. on the Comex in New York. The most-active contract erased a drop and climbed as high as $3.16, the highest price since June 1.
With assistance from Christopher Donville in Vancouver.-- Editors: Robin Saponar, Carlos Caminada