UPDATE 1-Freeport cuts 2011 gold sales view over mine problem

* Freeport cuts 2011 gold sales estimate by 20 pct

* Says “geotechnical issue” at Grasberg

* Will defer some copper, gold production

* Stock up almost 4 percent

NEW YORK, July 21 (BestGrowthStock) – Miner Freeport McMoRan Copper
& Gold (FCX.N: ) has lowered its gold sales estimate by more than
20 percent for next year because of “geotechnical” issues at
its vast Grasberg mine in Indonesia, Chief Executive Officer
Richard Adkerson said on Wednesday.

As a result, the company now expects 2011 gold sales
volumes to be about 1.5 million ounces — down from its earlier
estimate of 1.9 million ounces.

“We have revised our plans as a precautionary measure
because of some geotechnical issues related to the southwest
corner of the mine,” he told Wall Street analysts on a
conference call to discuss Freeport’s financial results.

Adkerson did not elaborate but said the Grasberg problem
was relatively small and occurred in a section of high grade
ore that was scheduled to be mined at the end of this year and
into 2011.

“We are going to defer mining this high grade section. The
biggest effect… is going to be in 2011 where our guidance as
it currently stands… is down 400,000 ounces.”

Adkerson said the plan change for the open-pit Grasberg
mine called for a deferral of 130 million pounds of copper and
270,000 ounces of gold from the next five-year period to the
scheduled end of the pit life in 2015 or 2016.

“The ore’s still there, we’ll still get to the metal, it’s
just a question of timing. We may find ways of getting this
quicker, we’re working on that.”

Typically, ore grades vary in different sections of a mine
and geological problems can interfere with scheduling of mine
operations, which can affect production estimates.

Freeport shares rose nearly 4 percent to $66.85 in early
afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange after the
company reported a second-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) that beat Wall Street

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(Reporting by Steve James; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

UPDATE 1-Freeport cuts 2011 gold sales view over mine problem