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Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again

Copper miners have reacted differently as Peru extended its state of national emergency again to restrict the spread of COVID-19, with MMG (HK: 1208) withdrawing guidance for Las Bambas but Freeport-McMoran (NYSE: FCX) eyeing increasing production at Cerro Verde.
Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again Freeport, MMG reactions differ as Peru extends national emergency again

MMG’s Las Bambas copper mine in Peru

Staff reporter

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Peru had earlier extended its initial 15-day period of emergency measures from March 26 to April 12, then last week pushed this out to April 26 as the global pandemic continues.

Freeport-McMoRan said it was looking into ways to increase production at its 53.56%-owned Cerro Verde mine, which last year produced 1 billion pounds of copper and 29 million pounds of molybdenum.

"Cerro Verde is conducting limited operations in accordance with the government order and is completing actions to provide additional onsite facilities and enhanced health protocols to enable production to increase while maintaining compliance with the government order," it said.

"Our principal focus is on the health and well-being of our workers, their families and the community while maintaining environmental safeguards and protecting the long-term values of this important resource."

The company said Cerro Verde's concentrator had been operating at about one-third of planned rates.

Australia-based MMG said its majority-owned Las Bambas mine was continuing to operate at reduced levels but the transport of concentrates had been suspended and the movement of people and critical supplies continued to be "significantly restricted".

"In light of the extension to the state of national emergency in Peru and the ongoing constraints on normal operations, the company advises that it formally withdraws its full-year 2020 guidance for Las Bambas," MMG said.

It had expected the mine to produce between 350,000-370,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate this year, representing the bulk of the company's 2020 production guidance of 418,000-445,000t of copper and 225,000-245,000t of zinc.

Las Bambas had produced 382,518t of copper in concentrate in 2019, slightly less than in 2018 due to community roadblocks which had impacted logistics for more than 100 days.

MMG said its operations elsewhere had experienced relatively limited impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak and it maintained guidance for its Dugald River and Rosebery operations in Australia and for Kinsevere in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MMG was down 1.4% in morning trade to HK$1.40, capitalising it at $11.3 billion (US$1.5 billion).

Freeport-McMoRan rose 1.3% yesterday to close at US$8.30, valuing it at $12 billion.

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