Peru’s Southern Copper sees strong prices in 2010

* Company sees 2010 copper prices at $3.25/lb

* Puts 2010 copper estimate at 500,000 tonnes

* Says to produce 18,500 tonnes of molybdenum this year

* Still no restart date for strike-hit Cananea

LIMA, Feb 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Southern Copper Corp, one of the
world’s largest copper producers, said on Tuesday it sees
average copper prices at $3.25 per pound in 2010, as it expects
emerging and developed economies to boost demand of the metal.

Copper, which is used in construction, rose 140 percent in
2009 on strong Chinese buying and supply concerns, but fell 8.5
percent in January as rising inventories suggested demand
outside China was weak.

U.S. copper futures (HGHO: ) settled up 0.2 percent on
Tuesday at $3.0895 a lb in New York.

“We believe that inventories of copper will start to die
off during the year, reversing the last month’s trend,”
Southern Copper’s Chief Financial Officer Genaro Guerrero said
on a conference call with investors.

He said he expected buying from emerging economies like
China to support prices through this year, as well as rising
consumption in developed countries like the United States.

Southern Copper (PCU.N: ) (SPC.LM: ) also gave guidance for its
2010 production on the call.

It put its copper production estimate for this year at
500,000 tonnes, slightly above the 485,376 tonnes it mined this
year, and its molybdenum forecast at 18,500 tonnes, in line
with last year’s output.

The company said it expected its zinc sales this year be
around 110,000 tonnes and its silver sales to come in near 16
million ounces in 2010.

CANANEA RESTART

Southern Copper, a unit of Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX: ),
operates the giant Cananea mine in Mexico, which historically
has produced some 20 percent of the company’s copper output and
has been hit by a strike for the past two years.

The company made a fresh offer to unionized workers late
last month, but the union said miners would not accept it.

When asked when Southern Copper might be able to restart
operations at the mine, Guerrero said he had no estimate.

The company’s 2010 copper forecast does not include
potential output from Cananea.

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(Reporting by Dana Ford; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Peru’s Southern Copper sees strong prices in 2010