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Copper Outlook Getting Brighter For Freeport-McMoRan

Freeport-McMoran headquarters
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Freeport-McMoran headquarters in downtown Phoenix.

In a market update this week, the price of Phoenix-based mining and energy company Freeport-McMoRan rose slightly. And so did the price of its signature product— copper. The uptick comes after several quarters of declining copper prices worldwide and layoffs throughout the Southwest.

Freeport-McMoRan, as the world's biggest privately-held producer, has curtailed production and laid-off almost a thousand people in Arizona mines.

John Miller from the Wall Street Journal says the outlook going forward is more positive. “Things are not great right now in copper mining. But in the next five years or ten years, they will recover," he said. "And Arizona is as good a place as any if you want to mine copper. I expect they will start rehiring soon. They’ll be copper jobs in Arizona for the next 20 or 30 years for sure.”

Miller says one thing that will continue to drive copper production in Arizona is the worldwide need for copper in India and China as they modernize.

Freeport-McMoran declined to comment on this story.

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Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.