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Freeport Misses Earnings Amid Indonesia Uncertainty

Phoenix-based minerals and mining giant Freeport McMoRan received a one-two punch Wednesday with an update to an export request and its latest earnings announcement. But the company is pushing ahead with a positive 2017 outlook.

The company reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, in part due to lower output from the company’s mega copper-producing Grasberg, Indonesia, mine.

Earlier in January, Freeport told Indonesian authorities it will need to drastically reduce output there to about 40 percent of current capacity and cut jobs if it does not receive the export approval permit the company requested late last year.

But, in the quarterly conference call, CEO Richard Adkerson said he is hopeful despite the Indonesian setbacks. Freeport's long-term plan and 2017 includes continued debt-reduction strategies and increases in production worldwide. 

Exports of copper concentrate from Indonesia have been on-hold since Jan. 12, when the government’s shipping ban on ore exports went into effect.

Freeport estimated about 70 million pounds of copper production lost for each month of delay. The company's Indonesian mine accounts for about 30 percent of the company’s copper business.

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