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Update: Molten Copper Fire At Arizona Smelter Will Not Affect Production

The molten copper breach that shut down Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s Miami, Arizona plant last week remains under investigation this morning.

As we reported Friday, a copper smelter plant about 90 miles east of Phoenix shut down after what witnesses say was an explosion and fire. At last report the plant was still closed. No one was injured in the explosion.

“The temporary shutdown of the Miami smelter will not affect mine production from Miami or any other Freeport-McMoRan mining operations,” Freeport McMoRan’s director of external communications, Eric E. Kinneberg, said in an email statement. “The duration of the temporary shutdown of smelter operations is uncertain” and is pending completion of the investigation. 

According to Reuters, the closure did not have an immediate impact on premiums, although shares of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) suffered a 2.24% hit the day after the incident. The stock opens trading this morning at $28.30, slightly lower than the price before the shutdown. Industry experts told Reuters Freeport would likely be able to make up any shortfall at other plants.

The Miami smelter has an annual capacity to process about 700,000 tons of concentrate, producing about 400 million pounds of copper and 700,000 tons of sulfuric acid. Freeport McMoRan’s 2013 annual report states that its North American consolidated copper sales were 1.42 billion pounds in 2013 at a realized price of $3.36 per pound.

The concentrate processed at Miami is almost exclusively sourced from Freeport-McMoRan’s copper mines in Arizona and New Mexico.

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