FCX expects South America's sales to approximate of 1.2 billion pounds of copper and 100 thousand ounces of gold for the year 2012, compared with 2011 sales of 1.3 billion pounds of copper and 101 thousand ounces of gold. Copper sales estimates for South America are approximately 35 million pounds lower than previous estimates reported in April because of revisions to El Abra production.
As anticipated, average unit net cash costs (net of by-product credits) for South America of $1.49 per pound of copper in second-quarter 2012 were higher than unit net cash costs of $1.08 per pound in second-quarter 2011, primarily reflecting lower copper sales volumes, lower by-product credits and increased mining costs.
FCX estimates that average unit net cash costs (net of by-product credits) for South America mining would approximate $1.48 per pound of copper for the year 2012, based on current sales volume and cost estimates and assuming average prices of $1,600 per ounce of gold and $13 per pound of molybdenum for the second half of 2012.
Indonesia Mining. Through its 90.64 percent owned and wholly consolidated subsidiary PT Freeport Indonesia, FCX operates the world's largest copper and gold mine in terms of reserves at its Grasberg operations in Papua, Indonesia. PT Freeport Indonesia produces copper concentrates, which contain significant quantities of gold and also silver.Operating and Development Activities. FCX has several projects in progress in the Grasberg minerals district, primarily related to the development of the large-scale, high-grade underground ore bodies located beneath and nearby the Grasberg open pit. In aggregate, these underground ore bodies are expected to ramp up over several years to approximately 240,000 metric tons of ore per day following the currently anticipated transition from the Grasberg open pit in 2016. Over the next five years, estimated aggregate capital spending on these projects is expected to average $700 million per year ($550 million per year net to PT Freeport Indonesia). Considering the long-term nature and large size of these projects, actual costs could differ materially from these estimates. The high-grade Big Gossan underground mine, which began producing in fourth-quarter 2010, is expected to reach full rates of 7,000 metric tons of ore per day in 2013. Substantial progress has been made in developing infrastructure and underground workings that will enable access to the underground ore bodies. Development of both the Grasberg Block Cave and Deep Mill Level Zone spurs is advancing, and the tunneling required to reach these underground ore bodies is complete.