The price of copper, gold and iron ore has not been kind to the megaminers who had ridden quite a profitable wave through 2012. Persistent, slow growth in the U.S., negative growth in Europe, and the surprising dip in growth from China left the market saturated with production. Just as an example, gold has dropped 23% in less than a year, leading companies like Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX ) to announce its intentions to trim spending by 10% in the next year.
The largest miners in the world haven't been insulated from this either. BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP ) will be attempting to reduce expenditures by $4 billion within the next 12 months. This cut will be larger than the entire 4% market cap of the S&P 500 index. And that's in just one year! These measures, while drastic, should help realign the supply and demand balance leading to improved inventory management and pricing power for the miners mentioned in the video below.
After putting together a blockbuster deal to expand into the oil and natural gas industry, Freeport-McMoRan will have plenty on its plate as it tries to diversify into the new industry, as expanding into oil and gas carries plenty of inherent volatility. Freeport-McMoRan is the world's largest copper miner, but the recent downturn in prices shows just how valuable this diversification could be. To help investors determine if Freeport-McMoRan is a buy or a sell, The Motley Fool has compiled a premium research report on the company. Simply click here now to access your copy today.