September 30, 2010 / 8:30 PM / 7 years ago

Freeport-McMoRan adds workers to restart U.S. mines

2 Min Read

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc (FCX.N) has added employees at its Miami and Morenci mines in Arizona as part of its plan to restart and expand operations there, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

Freeport said in an email that it has added about 230 people since the fourth quarter of 2009 at its Miami mine.

Total employment at Miami is currently about 925. Freeport said it expects to hire another 20 workers by the end of 2010, under a $40 million production restart plan.

The project's budget will primarily be used for mining equipment to ramp up output to 100 million lbs of copper per year by the second half of 2011.

Miami produced 16 million lbs of copper in 2009.

Freeport said it also hired about 300 workers at Morenci to increase mining and restart the concentrator. It said it plans to add another 100 people to its 2,200 employs currently.

In April 2010, Freeport-McMoRan announced that it had begun plans for a staged ramp up at Morenci to a 700,000 short ton-per-day production rate from 500,000 short tons a day.

Before Freeport cut production in the fourth quarter of 2008 in response to the sharp global economic downturn, the Morenci mine was putting out about 1 million short tons of copper per day.

The Morenci mill was restarted in March and is ramping up to be able to process additional sulfide material now being mined.

Mill throughput is expected to reach 55,000 short tons of copper per day by 2011.

"Further increases to Morenci's mining rate are being evaluated," the spokesman said. (Reporting by Carole Vaporean; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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