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Freeport-McMoRan 2Q Net Down 48% on Lower Revenue, Production

By Victoria Stilwell Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.'s (FCX) second-quarter earnings tumbled 48% as the company reported lower revenue and production but forecast a rise in future copper production. The company Thursday said it is on track to increase its annual copper production by more than 25% during the next three years through brownfield investments. The copper producer, whose operations span four continents, saw results improve in past quarters on higher prices for gold and copper, though copper prices have recently leveled. Freeport-McMoran and a subsidiary in April agreed to pay $6.8 million to settle federal and state natural resource damage claims related to its Morenci copper mine in Arizona. The mine was acquired by Freeport-McMoran in 2007, and the complaint alleged that the release of hazardous substances from the mine site damaged or destroyed parts of the environment. Freeport-McMoran reported a profit of $710 million, or 74 cents a share, down from $1.37 billion, or $1.43 a share, a year earlier. The most recent quarter's results include per-share charges of 6 cents for adjustments to environmental obligations and related litigation reserves, while last year's results included a 4-cent per-share charge on similar expenses. Revenue dropped 23% to $4.48 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters recently predicted earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $4.43 billion. Copper production fell 8.3% while gold production fell 28%. Molybdenum output declined 9.1%. Realized prices of copper decreased 16% while gold prices rose 5.2%. Shares rose 1.3% to $33.46 in recent premarket trade. The stock is off 41% in the last 12 months through Wednesday's close. Write to Victoria Stilwell at Subscribe to WSJ:

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