Climax Moly mine near Leadville to reopen
PHOENIX, Arizona Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) announced today it plans to proceed with the restart of the Climax molybdenum mine near Leadville, Colorado. Construction employment will begin with approximately 150 workers and peak at over 500. The operation will employ approximately 350 when production begins. The initial $500 million project involves the restart of open pit mining and the construction of new state of the art milling facilities. Annual production is expected to approximate 30 million pounds of molybdenum beginning in 2010 at estimated cash costs approximating $3.50 per pound. Climax is a historically significant mine with first ore processed in 1918. The mine and mill were last operated in 1995. Reclamation and environmental projects have continued over a multi-year period and will continue in areas no longer required for mining operations. The project is designed to enable the consideration of a further large scale expansion of the Climax mine. FCX will evaluate a second phase of the Climax project which could potentially double future annual molybdenum production to approximately 60 million pounds. The Climax mine is believed to be the worlds largest, highest grade and lowest cost undeveloped molybdenum deposit. Using a long-term molybdenum price of $6.50 per pound, reserves are estimated at 180 million tons at 0.165 percent molybdenum (0.5 billion pounds of recoverable molybdenum). In addition, there is an estimated 466 million tons grading 0.17 percent molybdenum of mineralized material ($10 per pound long-term molybdenum price) with substantial upside. Orders for certain long-lead items have been placed and work on the project will commence immediately. Major construction activities are expected to begin in the spring of 2008 after the winter season. The mill is located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 11,400 feet. FCX also announced plans to increase its molybdenum processing capacity by 20 million pounds per annum through the conversion of its copper concentrate leach facility at Bagdad, Arizona, to a molybdenum concentrate leach facility by 2010. FCX has four additional molybdenum processing facilities at Green Valley, Arizona; Fort Madison, Iowa; Stowmarket, United Kingdom and Rotterdam, Netherlands. FCX is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum. FCX has a dynamic portfolio of operating, expansion and growth projects in the copper industry and is the worlds largest producer of molybdenum. Additional information about FCX is available on our web site at http://www.fcx.com.