Freeport’s New AI Technology Promises Increased Copper Output

Copper miner Freeport-McMoran has unveiled a plan to increase its output by 90,000 tonnes by using artificial intelligence at its mines. 

Copper miner Freeport-McMoran (NYSE:FCX) has unveiled a plan to increase annual output by 90,000 tonnes through the addition of machine-learning technology at its mines.

“We have set an aspirational goal of adding 200m pounds (90,000 tonnes) of copper from these initiatives with very little capital investment,” Richard Adkerson, the company’s CEO, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

Freeport has tested the technology at its Bagdad mine in Arizona and expects to roll it out across all of its operations in the Americas. Adkerson said the Bagdad trial increased production by 9,000 tonnes.

The technology, as described by Freeport, uses data from sensors to suggest new ways to improve the performance of crushers and processing mills. At the Bagdad mine, the technology found that the mine could recover more copper by adjusting pH level.

Freeport’s plan comes following its poor performance in Q3 2019, when it saw a drop in sales and production. The company struggled due to disruptions in Peru and the slow-going process of transitioning its Grasberg mine from open pit to underground, which has impacted output.

The company posted a net loss of US$131 million for Q3 and only sold 795 million pounds of copper, compared to its estimate of 830 million pounds. The company had predicted this downturn to some extent since it knew of its plan to transition the Grasberg mine. Freeport did not, however, predict the anti-mining protests.

Despite the company’s struggles, Adkerson remains optimistic regarding the future, with high goals.

“… (We) remain focused on successful execution of our plans, which would enable us to increase copper production by 30 percent, gold production by 70 percent, reduce unit net cash costs by 25 percent and more than double operating cash flows in 2021 from 2019 levels,” he said in the firm’s Q3 release.

Freeport is also set to make a sale soon. On Monday (November 4), Zijin Mining (OTC Pink:ZIJMF,HKEX:2899) announced plans to buy its copper-gold assets in Serbia for US$390 million.

Since the announcement, Freeport’s share price has increased, opening the market on Monday at US$10.76, up 2.4 percent from its closing price last Friday (November 1).

At 10:23 a.m. EST on Monday, Freeport’s share price was at US$10.74, and at 10:24 a.m. EST, Zijin Mining’s share price was HK$2.83. As of last Friday, copper was trading at US$5,795 per tonne.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Sasha Dhesi, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Featured
Ivanhoe Mines President Marna Cloete, on behalf of all the women and men of the company, today congratulated Founder and Executive Co-Chairman, Robert Friedland, on his induction into the American Mining Hall of Fame for accomplishments during his distinguished career in the international mining industry.Mr. Friedland's formal induction ceremony was held in Tucson on December 4th, and attended by approximately 500 ...

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) (OTCQX: IVPAF) President Marna Cloete, on behalf of all the women and men of the company, today congratulated Founder and Executive Co-Chairman, Robert Friedland, on his induction into the American Mining Hall of Fame for accomplishments during his distinguished career in the international mining industry.

Mr. Friedland's formal induction ceremony was held in Tucson on December 4th, and attended by approximately 500 people. The American Mining Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievements advancing the American and/or global mineral resources industry.

read more Show less
Teck Resources Limited today provided an update to sales and production guidance, related to logistics disruptions caused by heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in British Columbia, Canada. B.C. Logistics Disruptions Rail service between west coast terminals and Teck’s B.C. operations remains impacted by recent heavy rains and flooding, with both CN and CP operating at reduced levels following service ...

Teck Resources Limited (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) ("Teck") today provided an update to sales and production guidance, related to logistics disruptions caused by heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in British Columbia, Canada.

B.C. Logistics Disruptions
Rail service between west coast terminals and Teck's B.C. operations remains impacted by recent heavy rains and flooding, with both CN and CP operating at reduced levels following service interruptions.

read more Show less
Ivanhoe Mines reports that the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has had no impact on any of its mining or mine development operations in South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo .No cases of the new variant have been detected at the company's Kamoa-Kakula and Kipushi projects in the DRC and, while there have been some recent infections among employees and contractors working at the company's Platreef Project ...

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) (OTCQX: IVPAF) reports that the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has had no impact on any of its mining or mine development operations in South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

No cases of the new variant have been detected at the company's Kamoa-Kakula and Kipushi projects in the DRC and, while there have been some recent infections among employees and contractors working at the company's Platreef Project in South Africa, all people infected to date have either been asymptomatic or experienced very mild symptoms.

read more Show less

MARKETS

Markets
TSX20853.42+220.15
TSXV893.99-3.14
DOW35320.10+740.02
S&P 5004607.62+69.19
NASD15256.60+171.13
ASX7241.20+16.00

COMMODITIES

Commodities
Gold1778.22-4.70
Silver22.25-0.33
Copper4.34+0.08
Palladium1848.49+27.00
Platinum939.86+2.85
Oil69.10+2.84
Heating Oil2.16+0.07
Natural Gas3.72-0.41