Solid annual copper and gold production helped Copper miner Freeport-McMoRan beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter profit. Ahead of the North American open, the major miner said its net income in the fourth quarter totaled $388 million or $0.27 per share. At the same time, adjusted net income came in at $393 million or $0.27 per share. According to consensus estimates, analysts expected to see around $0.22 per share.
From October to December, Freeport said it generated $5.905 billion, up from $5.758 billion reported in the fourth quarter of last year. For the year, the company saw earnings of $22.855 billion, up from $22.78 billion reported in 2022.
The company said that an increase in production helped drive revenue growth last year. Freeport said it produced 1.095 billion pounds of copper in the final quarter of the year, up from 1.070 billion pounds mined in the fourth quarter of 2022. For the year, the company produced 4.212 billion pounds of copper, compared to 4.21 billion ounces produced in the previous year.
The company produced 573,000 ounces of gold in the last three months of 2023, up from 472,000 ounces produced during the same period in 2022. For the year, the company produced 1.993 million ounces of gold, up compared to 1.811 million ounces mined in 2022.
“We enter 2024 with a focus on strong execution of our operating and investment plans, optimism on market fundamentals, and a relentless drive to enhance the value of our strong portfolio of assets. Our global team achieved success during 2023 on a number of important initiatives to enhance value, advance growth options and position us for the future,” said Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson in the company’s earnings statement. “During 2024, we will continue to prioritize productivity gains, operating and capital cost discipline and the advancement of organic opportunities for future long-term growth. We are dedicated to increasing the long-term value of our attractive assets, supported by the successful track record of our experienced and committed team, strong financial position and exposure to copper and other commodities with favorable long-term market fundamentals.”
Looking ahead, the company expects copper production to remain consistent in 2024 and looks for further growth in gold.
“Consolidated sales volumes for the year 2024 are expected to approximate 4.1 billion pounds of copper, 2.0 million ounces of gold and 85 million pounds of molybdenum, including 1.0 billion pounds of copper, 575 thousand ounces of gold and 20 million pounds of molybdenum in first-quarter 2024. Consolidated copper production volumes for the year 2024 are expected to exceed 2024 sales volumes, reflecting the deferral of approximately 90 million pounds of copper that will be processed by the Manyar smelter and sold as refined metal in future period,” the company said.