Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Freeport quietly starts copper production at giant Congo mine

Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold has started producing copper cathode at the huge Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine [right, credit Freeport McMoRan], in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a report on Mineweb.com today.

The initial production target is 115,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt a year, but that's expected to increase to 400,000 tonnes of copper per year in 5-7 years, with an eventual capacity of 1 billion pounds of copper, lasting 50-100 years. [left, orebody. Credit, Freeport McMoRan]

Mineweb says Freeports cash costs of producing the copper are $0.90 per pound, about half the current world spot price. The mine's rich grades of 2.3% copper and 0.3% cobalt help keep costs down.

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