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Freeport-McMoRan inc (FCX) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers - Oct 21, 2021 at 8:00PM

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FCX earnings call for the period ending September 30, 2021.

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Freeport-McMoRan inc ( FCX 2.25% )
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Oct 21, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Freeport-McMoRan Third Quarter Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to hand the conference over to Ms. Kathleen Quirk, President and Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead ma'am.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Great, thank you. And good morning everyone. And welcome to the Freeport McMoran conference call. Earlier this morning we reported our third quarter 2021 operating and financial results and a copy of today's press release and the slides are available on our website at FCX.com. Our conference call today is being broadcast live on the Internet and anyone may listen to the call by accessing our website homepage and clicking on the webcast link for the conference call. In addition to analysts and investors, the financial press has been invited to listen to today's call and a replay of the webcast will be available on our website later today.

Before we begin our comments, we'd like to remind everyone that today's press release and certain of our comments on the call include forward-looking statements and actual results may differ materially. We'd like to refer everyone to the cautionary language included in our press release and presentation materials and to the risk factors described in FCX's SEC filings.

On the call with me today are Richard Adkerson, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Mark Johnson, our COO of Indonesia; Josh Olmsted, our Chief Operating Officer for the Americas; Steve Higgins, our Chief Administrative Officer; Rick Coleman, who runs our engineering and construction business; and Mike Kendrick, who runs our Molybdenum business.

I'll start by briefly summarizing our financial results and then we'll turn the call over to Richard who will go through the materials in our slide presentation materials. After our formal remarks, we'll take your questions.

Today, FCX reported third quarter 2021 net income attributable to common stock of $1.4 billion that was $0.94 per share and adjusted net income attributable to common stock of $1.3 billion or $0.89 per share. The $0.89 per share excludes net credits totaling $0.05 a share primarily associated with tax credits related to the release valuation allowances at PT Freeport Indonesia and a gain on the sale of FCX's remaining cobalt business. The details of our adjusted net income are reflected in our press release on page VII. We generated adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of roughly $3 billion and we've got a reconciliation of the EBITDA on page 37 of our slide deck.

Favorable results in the third quarter reflects strong execution by our team growing our production volume safely, efficiently and responsibly. Our sales volumes for the quarter for copper exceeded 1 billion pounds that approximated our prior estimate in July of 2021 and was above the year ago period. Gold sales of 400,000 ounces for approximately 12% higher than our prior estimate and also significantly above the year ago period. We also benefited from positive pricing for copper. Our third quarter, average realized copper price was 4.20 per pound. That was substantially above the year ago period. And gold prices were slightly below the year-ago period. We also benefited from improved molybdenum prices in the quarter where prices nearly doubled from the year ago period. Net unit cash costs were $1.24 per pound in the third quarter. That was lower than our estimate going into the period and we had some good performance from our leach production, which reduced our unit production costs in the period. We generated strong cash flows, and we've been doing that every quarter this year, generating $2 billion of operating cash flow, which exceeded capital spending of roughly 500 million during the quarter. Our balance sheet is strong. We ended the quarter with consolidated debt of 9.7 billion and consolidated cash of 7.7 billion, which resulted in net debt of $2 billion. We had no borrowings under our credit facility and have $3.5 billion available. We also announced today some liability management where we called for redemption, our outstanding notes due 2022, that has a total principal amount of $524 million.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Richard who will be referring to the slide presentation materials. Richard, go ahead.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks everyone. Thank you for joining our call. Really pleased to be able to review our strong performance for this quarter, where we are with the company. It's a special time. Several years ago on a call I said, if we could be fortunate enough to ramp up our underground production at Grasberg, at the same time, we had a positive copper market, it would be a great time for Freeport. And this is really a great time for us. We're going to focus on the future but just one comment. I was last at the job site two years ago in October and we were just completing the mining of the open pit and starting to ramp up of the Grasberg Block Cave. And so, during this two-year period, our progress has been nothing short of remarkable. And I really congratulate our team at job site, but also in the Americas for what we've been able to accomplish, even in the face of all the distractions and challenges that COVID brought on.

I hope you and all your families and your colleagues are staying healthy. This thing is not over. We're keeping our guards up. I encourage you to as well. We have, at Freeport, had a successful program to give vaccines to our people internationally. Over 90% of our people in South America are not vaccinated, and 85% in pipeline and Indonesia are vaccinated. We continue to be challenged as some of our operations in the United States, which is common across our country unfortunately, but we are encouraging our people and making some progress there. But the news is, we've been able to meet the challenge of COVID and accomplish what we're reporting to you today.

Our copper volumes have grown over 20% from a year ago, and that reflects this really exceptional execution of our business. With these prices that we have today, we're generating very strong margin. Our EBITDA doubled from a year ago. Our strong operating cash flows that Kathleen mentioned in the quarter are really exceptional, and particularly when you looked at our capital expenditures were only $500 million. Now this is generating cash flows to -- now that we've met our debt target and we met that at the end of June, way ahead of what we'd anticipated at the beginning of the year. We're now focused on managing these cash flows. And that's a happy time for us; looking at investments for our long-term future. At the same time, we've been able to increase returns to shareholders and maintain a really strong balance sheet, which is going to be real hallmark of our Company going forward.

Everybody is focused on carbon reduction and climate initiatives. We've got 26 coming up next month. It's going to be all over the papers. We published our second report on our climate initiatives. We've put a lot more resources into it. We're really focused on it. As a company compared with other natural resource companies, we have much limited scope three emissions and other natural resources. And we're really focused on our Scope one and two emissions, and have a plan to achieve targets that we believe are realistic and achievable. We and the other 28 members of ICMM, International Council Mining and Metals, which our chair have signed a commitment to work toward having zero net carbon emissions by 2050, and everybody is working hard on it. We're also continuing to make progress to certify all of our operations with the International Copper Association's copper mark. And this just clearly demonstrates our commitment to responsible production.

You recall that I became Chairman earlier this year. And when that occurred, I made a real commitment to build the kind of Board that the company like ours really needs and deserves. We've added four new members in 2021. We added to this quarter; Marcela E. Donadio and Sara Grootwassink Lewis. That brings us to a total of eight independent directors which have a broad range of experience, and it's going to be a real strength of our company going forward. Underlying all of this is the fundamental outlook for copper is incredibly favorable; copper's role in the economy. And as the economy changes with global investments in infrastructure, and I know we have a controversy here, but countries around the world are going to build infrastructure. Less developed countries are going to develop. The world is getting increasingly focused on electrification with modern technology, 5G, and artificial intelligence.

And then, a new major element that people are talking about and recognizing now for demand that's coming. It's not here in real significance now is all of the investments that people are going to be making to reduce carbon. And across the board, those investments are results in significant demands for copper. And then, you got, we'll talk about this more, the commodity really supported by supply factors. I mentioned our Climate Report reported in September. It's on our website. I encourage you all to take a look at it. It really details work in a much more comprehensive way than we did in our first report last year about how our company will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how we are approaching climate scenario analysis and we're reporting in line with recommendations of the task force on climate related financial disclosures. We are, as a company and as an organization, firmly committed to this. We see it in our everyday lives with the forest fires in our operations in the West and hurricanes on the Gulf Coast-weather patterns all around the world. We all know we need to do this and we are committed to do our part for our company.

And as I said, as the rest of the world, the rest of industry focuses on this, it's going to create a lot of copper demand. Although, we established our target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia, about 30%, which is a new target for us. We have this aspirational goal of net zero by 2050. Our two big issues are; one, the coal power plant in Indonesia, a lot of power required for our massive operations there. We're now investing in dual fuel powered plant there. We're looking to a future of power being generated by bio diesel, initially natural gas. We're looking at hydropower opportunity. So, we are working on that.

And then, the other major issue is how to convert our big haul truck fleet; massive trucks, diesel driven. They've had to work with our suppliers and others in the industry to convert that to electrical power or hydrogen powered vehicles. We'll hear a lot more about this in the week. Just know that our company is committed to it, to deal to deal with our own emissions, and to work with industry and communities in general to meet the things we need to move with climate change. Copper is essential to that. It's a strategic metal in many respects for the future. The world is getting increasingly electrified and more than 65% of the world's copper is used to deliver electricity. And when you look at electric vehicles charging stations, clean power from wind, solar, all of these require significantly more copper too operate then the way that things are currently done now. And so, it's up it's a challenging time for us and we're serious about this challenge, but it is also a great opportunity for us as a responsible global copper producer. So, we got these rising demand and supply is a real issue for this industry. Even today, with the economic uncertainties in China and globally, copper inventories are remarkably low. [Indecipherable] recently hit a 47-year low. Shanghai's lower then it's been since 2009. And while there will be some new projects that were started four years to five years ago, delayed by COVID, coming on stream in the next couple of years, that will bring some new copper to the market. Beyond that, the cupboard is pretty empty in terms of new supply projects of any significance.

And the world today, the opportunities are smaller. They're more difficult to develop and produce. Permitting still requires a very long period of time. And so, the industry really, one, has an issue with meeting the demand with supply and that's going to require action across a lot of fronts; more scrap, some substitution. But copper as a commodity is so much better than any alternatives that in whichever environment you can envision for the world going forward, absent some doomsday situation in the global economy, it's just in a situation of where copper prices have to be strong in my view, stronger than they are today.

Turning to slide 7. What this means for our company is with all the work we've done today in preparing our business in building our assets, we're going to have really significant margins and cash flow. Six years ago our company was facing real challenges and we worked our way through that very successfully. As we were working so hard and facing, dealing with some real tough problems, and dealing with it on a sustainable debt level at that time, we all looked at ourselves and talked about the assets that we had in our company, the long-term assets, the quality of the team, our track record, our capabilities, and that's really what inspired us all the work so hard to get to where we are today.

Copper volumes are 20%. Gold volumes are 50% higher than they were a year ago, and they'll be growing another 15% to 20% next year. It's a great feeling as we were ending the quarter and looking at September, in particularly, to recognize that the capital and execution risk to achieve these higher volumes, which we've been pointing to for a very long period of time, that those risks are behind us. The higher volumes are coming with low incremental cost. And copper prices from $45, we would generate annual EBITDA for the next couple of years on the order of $12.5 billion to $17 billion per year. And our capital expenditures, and we have a new project that we'll be talking about in Indonesia. Including that, our capital expenditures will range on the order of $2 billion to $2.5 billion dollars a year. So that means we are where we wanted to be, where we targeted to be, where we thought we would be. But the important part is, now we've done it. We're just not pointing to it.

And slide 8 shows that is ramp-up of the Grasberg mine. And that was -- this slide looks like this was really a straightforward, easy to accomplish deal. There are challenges every day out there. This is the most complicated mine in the world when it was open pit mine. And now, in the industries historically and historic large underground mine, it is truly remarkable.

The third quarter was 90% of our target annualized rate. We were at target in September. We're now on track to reach full rates metal production by the end of the year. Our team in Indonesia just needs to be congratulated and recognized for meeting all these targets. And it was strategically so important for us. And it was a real matter of concern back in March of 2020 when we had COVID facing us. Looks easy on paper, but man it's a challenge every day. And I had a great meeting with our team in advance of this call and the excitement, morale and so forth is just exceptional. It's really something special for our company and we now look forward to taking the steps that we need to take to sustain this for the life of this robot [Phonetic]. We're beginning to talk with the government and getting positive initial responses about extending our operating right beyond 2041, because of the ramp up, the limit of the operating rights, we haven't done much exploratory drilling, extension type core drilling. Our feeling and our confidence is there's a lot more resources beyond what we're developing there and we're explaining that to the government. As I said, initial reactions are positive. And I'm confident that we will not be facing an end to this operation in 2041. That makes no sense for any stakeholder. We need to look at it, to take advantage of the long-term resources available to us.

Slide 9 talks about our growth of our company. The real strength of Freeport is its large reserve base, 30 years to 35 years life in its proved and probable reserves, which gives us a sustainable ability of our operations for a very long period of time. And beyond that we have resources that are even larger than our reserves that are brownfield resources, which is really important in the Americas because that means that we are not trying to permit, getting community approval to build new mines. We have great support for our communities. We've involved them. We share our benefits with them. And so, as a result, we have these multiple options for long-term brownfield low-risk growth. And I'm really encouraged by the opportunities we have in United States where we have great community support. You have the benefit of strong communities and supporting schools, hospitals, education, great workforce, great community. We pay our people really well. We make sure they have living wages. We're sensitive to them. So, here we see, across the board, Bagdad in Northwest Arizona; long-reserve life, through a concentrated project, we can double production.

Lone Star, you're going to hear a lot about Lone Star in Freeport's future. This resource has a long-term opportunity to be a flagship asset. It's just across the ridge from Morenci, the largest mine in North America. We honestly believe this can be another long-term Morenci. And it's got -- right now, we're having real success with our, the new oxide mine we started this past year. It's expanding. It's got further expansions. We're able to make it economic by using available production facilities at our nearby Stafford mine that is winding down. And then, processing this oxide is really a stripping operation for this enormous sulfide deposit.

We have a great project in Chile, at our El Abra mine, where we're partners with CODELCO. This is a mine that we have a sulfide leaching project going on now. There is a big sulfide resource there. It would be a big price capital project to build a mill desalination plant. We're looking at a number of alternatives there. Chile is going through a process of the government, the people assessing how they're going to tax and what the fiscal regime is going to be for mining projects. We are going to wait to see how that plays out before making any investment decision. But in the meantime, we're getting prepared working communities, working with -- preparing for permitting and so forth. This will be a project that the world will ultimately need going forward. We've got a lead [Phonetic] project that's not very big in Europe at our Atlantic Copper smelter where we are going to be recycling electronic equipment. This responds to people wanting to see this sort of thing happening. It's a way of generating some copper without carbon emissions of significance and investments. And so, we're looking for that. We're looking at other opportunities like that.

And then, this Kucing Liar in Indonesia is really special. It is -- I was actually out there in the '90s when as we were driving the Amoli [Phonetic] drift, which was a dewatering drift going underneath the Grasberg open pit. As we were driving in the pit, we found this ore body. The engineers gave our geologists a hard time about it because they literally pierced this ore body that we had not seen previously that lies really to the south flank of the Grasberg pit. And we've been working on getting the right mine plan, the timing for it in the context of -- and if you turn to slide 10, you can see where it's located. It's an ore body that's in separate mineralization zone from our DOZ, Deep MLZ, and the Grasberg pit, it's a long fault line. It may have resources at depth. It has some complicated geology and mineralogy but it's a big mine. I mean it's 90,000 tons a day from a Block Cave, you only think of that as not being a huge mine because it's next to the Grasberg Block Cave. But it's like 60% size of Deep MLZ, 40% the size of Grasberg Block Cave, 350 million tons of ore, good copper and gold grades. 90,000 tons a day from a Block Cave, that's big by global standards. And it's going to occur over a number of years. It will help sustain our high level of low-cost production out of Grasberg; 500 million pounds of copper a year, 500,000 ounces of gold when it's ramped up in 2030. Capital expenditure is going to be spent over a number of years, use existing infrastructure. Just ask your gold analysis how they'd feel if gold companies were to announce that the gold mine and it was $500,000 a year and 500 million pounds of copper a year. This is a significant opportunity for us.

12, I mentioned Lone Star. You can see how we're ramping up the oxides. We've got 250 reserves of about 5.5 billion pounds. The real price here is sulfide underlying it. We've done some drilling to identify it. We're doing preliminary plans of how to process it and so forth. Metal potential of 50 billion pounds. 50 billion pounds. This is a long-term opportunity, but we're a long-term company. And this is going to be a flagship opportunity for us going forward.

Another area that's emerging and our guys on this call are really exciting about it is new opportunities to apply technology leaching. Now, [Technical Issue] guides and Freeport's predecessors were long leaders in leaching, going back to the very starting of, I'd say, CW leaching. The opportunities globally for traditional XSCW leaching are diminishing because they've been accessed and taken advantage of it. But this opens up a whole new realm of opportunities for us to add production with limited capital and low carbon emissions. This will range from looking at a series of additives and approaches for existing leach stacks which would allow us to recover more from those. We're also really getting excited by using this data analytics efforts that we started several years ago, to apply those weak [Phonetic] stacks and know more about what we're doing, what are the consequences of taking certain actions. So, it's a combination of things.

There are several alternatives we're looking at. The opportunity is really significant. Our guys estimate we have almost 40 billion pounds of copper in our existing stockpiles. This is not -- this is our demand. It's not in reserves and resources in any production plant. We can record -- if we can cover just a piece of this, it's the size of a new mine; low capital, low operating costs, low carbon footprint. A lot of this is in Morenci but there are other places. And it could even apply to some old historical mines that have whole leach stacks that we can use it for.

It's an emerging thing, but we are excited about it. And our company is particularly well situated to take advantage of that because of the history that we've had with these older mines and what this could mean for it. So this is a stay tuned deal. We're not building in our plans yet. But it's like a development project; low capital, low cost, low carbon. So it's really good. So, listen, we're just feeling great about Freeport. I mean, we've been to the wards together.

Our team is -- we're adding some really new resources to our team despite COVID. We're bringing in support. We've got young people in our organization stepping up to leadership positions. You know it's a dynamic company. It's remarkable that through all the trials and tribulations we went through, we had very limited numbers of people to leave us. Our people look at each other and we're inspired by each other and it's just great. Strong cash flows. We are going to be responsible. We have this great track record of doing all of this. If you look at our success we've had in development projects all around the world, different kinds of mining, different kinds of processing technology. Market outlook is great. We've got these organic growth opportunities. And really as a shareholder myself, the prospects of seeing returns on those shareholders coming of significance is just a great feeling.

So, I hope you can sense how we are feeling about our company and our outlook. And really appreciate your interest. And I'm going to turn it over to Kathleen before we open it up for questions.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

All right, great. Thank you, Richard. I'm just going to cover some brief comments on financial and operating matters, and then we'll open up for questions. And just really starting on Slide 16, we provide some additional details on our operating activities. Richard mentioned Lone Star and the performance there has been really strong. Our operations are exceeding our design capacity, which was originally 200 million pounds. We're seeing that now by 25%. And we're continuing to optimize and planning for the next increment of production from oxides as we study the longer-term opportunities.

Richard mentioned the leach work that we're doing. It's a major focus at Morenci. We have a big effort underway to enhance recoveries and we're deploying a variety of initiatives. Some of these have already produced results and that did enable us to increase expected recovery from some of our leach material in the third quarter. And what this does is it gets us small volumes, but also allows us to reduce unit costs; having a bigger pool to spread costs over. So that's a really positive thing and more to come there. We've incorporated some of this into our plans but we're optimistic that additional copper pounds can be added as we go forward.

At Morenci, we're continuing to work to increase mining rates. We're targeting getting up to 900,000 tons of material per day in 2023. That's a major undertaking. 30% higher than where we were in 2020. As we reported, we've started restarted the historic Morenci mill, which had been idled since the first half of 2020 and that's proceeding. We started the mill in the third quarter. We did experience some delays, but those are largely behind us. We also had, probably a lot of you've seen, the weather conditions in the Southwest that we experienced this summer. We did experience severe wet weather and some power issues during monsoon season. And we always have monsoon season, but this year was more severe than normal and that did impact some of our operations in the third quarter. And again, that's behind us as well.

I want to just echo what Richard said about our team in South America. The Cerro Verde team has overcome significant challenges in dealing with the pandemic. We've been operating at about 95% of capacity over the last several months and that's in the face of still restrictions on movement around Arequipa and our team just does great work in managing this and being creative about how to manage it safely.

We are optimistic that as we look forward to this 2022, many of the government restrictions can be lifted safely and we can return to a more normal operating environment there and achieve higher rates at Cerro Verde. El Abra mine in Chile is making great progress. We're increasing the stacking rate of material where we're storing production that we had curtailed during 2020. And we're focused on sustaining a level of production at El Abra in the 200 million to 250 million pounds per year range as we look to potentially expand that as we go forward.

Richard talked about the terrific results at Grasberg. The team there is just continuing to deliver results quarter after quarter. We expect to be at our quarterly run rate for metal, beginning here in the fourth quarter. And for the next several quarters, we project the mill will run at about 175,000 tonnes per day until 2023 when we install the new SAG mill, which is currently under construction, and that will support higher rates as we continue to ramp up the Grasberg Block Cave and the Deep MLZ, and then make room for the Kucing Liar project that Richard mentioned.

A lot of talk right now about inflation. Our team is really focused on cost management and efficiency projects. We're focused on extending equipment lives, ways to improve our energy efficiency, ways to efficiently implement maintenance practices, and really use technology in all pf this. We have, like everyone else, experienced some cost increases. Those have really principally been associated with the energy price increases. To a lesser extent, we've had some other impacts on our consumables; the impact of steel prices on some of our consumables. We've had higher sulfuric acid costs, freight costs. But we really want to send appreciation to our global supply chain team. They're doing excellent work in keeping our operations stock with critical supplies and managing in these uncertain times. And they've just done an outstanding job in keeping our business continuity going. I will note that we have seen very strong prices in molybdenum and those have more than offset some of these inflationary pressures we've had on the cost side.

Turning to the smelter on Slide 17, we provide an update of our activities with the greenfield smelter we're developing in East Java and the work we're doing with our partner at PT Smelting to expand the facility there. We're focused on completing this project as efficiently and timely as possible. We're advancing in the engineering and commercial arrangements and we've commenced preparing the land for construction. You probably have seen press reports that the President of Indonesia recently visited the site in a ground breaking ceremony, and this indicates the significance of this project to the country.

We've got a $1 billion bank credit facility in place for PT-FI to use to advance the projects. And we are going to plan additional debt financing for the project which can be obtained at attractive rates to fund the project long term. As we previously have discussed, the long-term cost of the financing for the smelter would essentially be offset by a phaseout of the 5% export duty, so the economic impact to PT-FI is not material. And this is a project that has shared 51% by our shareholder-- PT-FI shareholder MIND ID in the balance of FCX.

Turning to our volumes, and Richard talked about the growth in volumes. We've had great success in execution. We've got our three-year outlook listed on slide 18. And this is generally consistent with our previous guidance. We made some relatively minor adjustments to the fourth quarter of 2021, but you'll see here that the execution of our plan is on track. We'll show on slide 19 the strong cash flow generation of this business. We've got very significant free cash flows using our volume and cost estimates and prices ranging from $4 to $5 copper, holding gold flat at $1800 and molybdenum at current prices around $19 per pound. The real growth in our volumes, with low incremental costs, show EBITDA ranging from $12.5 billion per annum on average for 2022 and 2023 at $4 copper and $17 billion at $5 copper as Richard has mentioned.

And operating cash flows, and this is net of tax, ranges from $9 billion to over $12 billion, which provides significant cash flows, not only to invest in our business and fund programs, grow our business, but also increase capital returns to investors.

Our capital spending plans are detailed on the next slide, Slide 20. You'll see here that we reduced our outlook for 2021 for capital spending from $2.2 billion previously $2.2 billion and that excludes the smelter investment. But that reflects really timing. We've had really a timing issue in getting these projects going. And so, some of that has fallen over into 2022. We've also added the -- in our forecast plans to commence development of the Kucing Liar ore body that Richard mentioned previously. So you're talking about $9 billion to $12 billion of operating cash flows and capex below $3 billion, very strong free cash flow. We've got growing volumes, strong markets, low capital requirements. And that's really allowed us, just over the past 12 months, to reduce our debt, our net debt by nearly $6 billion. And so, we're down now to $2 billion in net debt. I know some of you remember a time when it was multiples of this. And so, we're in a great situation from a balance sheet standpoint. Our credit metrics are extremely strong and it positions us well as we go forward to invest in future growth and increase our payouts to shareholders.

The last slide, 22, refers to our financial policy. It is centered around our strong balance sheet. The combination of the strong balance sheet and the success in growing our volumes will put us in a strong position. Our Board had established earlier this year a policy that provides for up to 50% of free cash flow to be used for shareholder returns with the balance available for growth and further balance sheet improvements. We look forward to -- with the achievement of our net debt targets, we look forward to the implementation of this policy. We expect our Board will determine the structure and size of additional payouts to shareholders with our annual results and this will be something that we update and it gets reviewed periodically.

So, that concludes our remarks. We look forward to reporting our progress and continuing to build on our momentum as we go forward. And operator, we'd now like to turn the call over for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] The first question comes from the line of Michael Glick with JP Morgan. Your line is now open.

Michael Glick -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Good morning. Just on the cost side, the trajectory in 4Q looks good as Grasberg ramps, but relative to the trajectory in 4Q and really into '22, how should we think about inflationary pressures given what's happened with coal in Indonesia, freight, power particularly in Europe and Spain, diesel consumables and labor as well, and are there any annual contract resets we should be mindful of going into 2022?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

We've built into our projections current levels of energy costs. We do have a coal contract in Indonesia that is done annually, but for the most part our energy costs of floating with the market because of the volume increase that we're expecting next year and that really -- we've got a big fixed cost business. So it comes at a low cost. We are projecting that our unit costs will decline year-on-year from '21 to '22, and we've got additional growth. So, while cost inflation is a factor for us, it's being managed well and producing volumes at low incremental cost will help us drive costs lower in the face of rising inflation. Great, thank you.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Michael, I raised this question with our team and they're getting ready for this because I -- quite frankly, when I saw the out years, I was pleasantly surprised by everything you're reading just generally about things. But you know the currency rates are helping us and these by-product credits aren't really important to us. Of course, in Indonesia, there, the gold's growing and molybdenum is doing well.

And our team has just done a great job in managing these things. We benefit because Freeport manages its Americas business as one business. We operate all the mines that we operate and we have incredibly good relationships with suppliers. We are premium customer for all of our major suppliers. So it's something we're watching and we're [Technical Issue] and some of our costs are correlated to copper prices. So, it's a factor, but I was struck. I was expecting it to be more a part [Technical Issue] than myself than it's turning out to be in our plans. Awesome. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Emily Chieng with Goldman Sachs. Your line is now open.

Emily Chieng -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Good morning, Richard and Kathleen. My question is just around capitals returns. You are clearly well below your net debt target here but perhaps could you give us some color as to what's driving the hesitation around maybe accelerating this announcement, is it a macro uncertainty? You talked a little bit about it earlier, are we still sort of balancing what the cadence is, growth per tax is in the next couple of years, before announcing something positive there? Thank you.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Emily, it's just more a question of how quickly this is developed. When we set the policy, we were anticipating meeting our debt target sometimes out in the future and it happened so quickly. Business has gone so well. We've added new Board members. And so, we had set much earlier, a process that would result in this being addressed after the beginning of the year when we got our annual results. And so, we'll be talking with our Board about it. We are also having engagements with a number of our significant shareholders about stock buybacks and dividends. Some of the traditional is seems to be shifting some, but it's nothing about reluctance about the future that's causing us to do that.

And we have regular scheduled Board meetings and we talk about it at every Board meeting. So it's just more of a question of how we set the process early on. And clearly, we are making progress much faster because of markets, but also because of our execution than we had anticipated. And so, it's a good situation, but that's why we are where we are.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

And there is no hesitation, Emily, on this. We've just got to implement it.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Emily Chieng -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Appreciate it and looking forward to it.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

All of us are, Emily. Thanks.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of David Gagliano with BMO Capital Markets. Your line is now open.

David Gagliano -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, thanks for taking my questions. Obviously a lot going on here. The leaching potential, development opportunities, etcetera, etcetera. I just wanted to focus in on Kucing Liar for a minute, in a sort of respect it's early days, but Kucing Liar has obviously been a well-known part of the Grasberg district for a long time. Now that you're starting to develop it, I just have two questions. First of all, if you could talk about the cadence of the upcoming capital spending over the next 10 years.

And then secondly, talking about the primary developmental risks as you see it today. Again, I know it's early days, but you referenced complicated geology, mineralogy -- what are, in your view, the primary developmental challenges for Kucing Liar? That's it from me.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

David, on the capex, like our other block caves, it is spread out over a long period of time. So, it will start out next year somewhere in the $200 million range, maybe a bit lower than that, but ultimately ramp up to average about $400 million a year. And so, that's done over an approximate 10 year period. And the production will come on when all of this is sequenced together, but the production will come on to sequence when we have availability in the mill, as we have some declines with other ore bodies. But Mark, if you want to give some background about KL. As Richard was saying, this is just a natural progression for us. It gives us really a place to continue to use all -- everything we've learned from Deep MLZ and Grasberg Block Cave to extend that to KL. And so, we think it's a natural time to begin transitioning to develop another ore body there.

Mark J. Johnson -- Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Yes, and David, it's going to look very much like Deep MLZ. It's sort of a similar elevation. It is going to benefit from the lessons learned at deep MLZ. For instance, our plans now would be that we would apply this hydro-fracking technology to it in advance where with deep MLZ we ended up having to play a bit of catch-up. So, we've got a much better geotechnical knowledge and how to address that. Part of the [Technical Issue] It does -- as Kathleen says it benefits. It ties into the GBC development, some of the infrastructure it shares. There's common parts of the ore flow system; ventilation, access. We're driving three headings starting very soon. And they all tie off of a development that's either off to the big docks [Phonetic] or are off to drifting that goes back to GBC. The previous KL reserve had much more complex metallurgy and geology.

Over the last couple of years, we changed our mine planning approach. We focused on what turned out to be much higher value material that was a little bit lower grade but that, yes, the material could be processed through our current mill. So, that took away a lot of balances that the previous KL mine plant had. We had to change our flotation circuit. We had a much more of the environmental management with pyrite concentrate that would be generated. So, this plan, it's about 0.9 copper, 0.9 is per tonne gold. It's -- the tons that Richard mentioned are very much driven by the 2041 states that we're working on. And this deposit has a lot of growth, both on the same footprint that we're working [Technical Issue] now and at deeper level. So, I feel like this is going to be our chance to take all the lessons learned. We're looking at the potential of applying electrical -- electric mining equipment there. So I think we get a fresh start with a lot of experience that's going to apply itself and KL's going to benefit from it.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

And I want to tell you, Dave, that when Mark -- the original reserve as Mark said had all this pyrite material and our gold recoveries are very low and processing is complicated. And dealing with the pyrite tails was real complicated. I was just so impressed from Mark and his mine planning team. He came in with this new plan, which makes it much more traditional, much less risky, much less capital intensive. And in fact, created more value, because originally we were only getting 50% recovery out of that pyrite glazened gold and ore. So, it's a great example of having a really good mine planning team and led by Mark.

David Gagliano -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. Thank you. Just a quick follow-up on the time of the capex. So, 4 billion over roughly 10 years, 200 million in 2022, the lion's share of the spend likely toward the latter half of the decade. Is that reasonable to say? Can you give us a little more color on the timing of that ramp?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

It will average around that.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, it's pretty consistent because this is -- because we've developed most of the access and ventilation and all those sorts of things. It's not chunky. This is more or less mine development. And that occurs on a regular pattern.

David Gagliano -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, understood. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Chris LaFemina with Jefferies. Your line is now open.

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Thank you. Hi, Richard. Hi, Kathleen. How are you?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Great. Thank you, Chris.

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Just a final question on the KL project. So it sounds like the gold grades, they are quite a bit higher than they were at the Grasberg Block Cave and the DMLZ and the copper grades that kind of similar. So, is this a project where we should expect operating cost to be at least as well as, if not lower than what you're going to get from the two current Block Cave projects? And secondly --

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

The answer is yes.

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. So, it'd be lower cost. And should we also think about it as just being sort of a mine life extension to the Grasberg Block Cave or is it, would it be a period where you have, I mean, you're obviously constrained by the mill capacity but would there be a period where you might have higher production as this is online [Indecipherable] to operate in the Grasberg Block Cave? It just fits in really well with great changes with existing mines. It folds right in. It's a sustainability of production project as opposed to a significant growth project.

Mark J. Johnson -- Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Okay. And one thing I might add to this, with the Scope 3 projects we get up to a mill capacity of 2.40. Before KL, that mill would run somewhere around 20. So, KL benefits somewhat also by the mill capacity [Technical Issue] to provide. And then as Richard and Kathleen mentioned it just fits in nicely. As the grades in some deposits tend to decline, KL comes up, and so we're able to adjust those other mine plans and make room for KL to be that 90,000 ton producer. And when the grades are it or better than the grades, for instance, at Deep MLZ.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

And Chris, to put that in perspective, way back in the 1990s when we were designing the Grasberg open pit and looking forward to life beyond the pit, our original target was 120,000 tons a day through the mill. So, overtime, this amazing ore body is allowing us to go from a anticipated 120,000 ton per day mill rate from the underground to 240,000 tons from the underground, just to put in perspective.

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

And sorry, if I could, a second question regarding your projects. I mean, it's really actually incredible when we think about, over the last 5 years, you went from being in a position where you were kind of managing a balance sheet, trying to develop these two really difficult underground projects in Indonesia, negotiating with the government regarding ownership at Grasberg. And you probably couldn't have drawn [Phonetic] it up any better as to how it's progressed in terms of the development of the projects, the deleveraging of the balance sheet. The ramp up of the Grasberg Block Cave and DMLZ has been really impressive. I think there was lot of skepticism in the market that, whether you can actually deliver on that. It seems like you are delivering. But now you're kind of unleashing this massive organic growth pipeline, which is probably under-appreciated until recently. I mean you've kind of been highlighting in a recent quarters. But now we're there. So, you're going to be developing these projects. And you're obviously talking as well about this kind of catalytic leaching and leaching copper right off old leach stacks, Mashika pyrite ores, which historically have not been commercial. Is this a technology that you think could potentially be revolutionary in the industry in terms of leading to a lot of supply growth from old, kind of what had been a waste stockpiles? Do we have to worry about the copper supply demand balance as a result of these threats of new technologies, leading to lots of growth?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

That's again, Chris, a question I've been asking our team all along. In a prior life, I actually worked with the first company out of Houston that did the very first fracking operations for the whole oil and gas industry, way back in '80s. And so, I've asked that question. And while it's a tremendous opportunity, and particularly good for our company, considering the nature of our stockpiles, and the history of our operations, and the way we've dealt with low grade. This will be -- the beneficial people are really going to be pursuing it. There are -- it's not just one technology that's being pursued but a series of different options. So, it's an evolving story. It is not likely to be the kind of game changer that fracking was in the long gas business.

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Right. Thank you for that.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Lawson Langer [Phonetic] from Bank of America Securities. Your line is now open.

Lawson Langer -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. And thank you for the update. It's nice to hear from both of you. There is so much to discuss. But I'd like to actually touch on your efforts around ESG, particularly in Indonesia. And it's really exciting that you're targeting a 30% reduction in emissions by 2030. I was wondering how do you think about the cost of that, or what is the cost that you factored in the order to achieve that? And then, when you think about it maybe from the other way in terms of IRR, I mean, if you assume some carbon pricing assumption around where maybe European gold prices are today, but what kind of IRRs do you actually get on those types of divestments? Thank you.

Mark J. Johnson -- Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

So, that -- I kind of hate people who say that's a good question. It's something we say it all the time, but that is a real good question. And it's something that is really under-appreciated right now. And we're particularly focused on it within ICMM because here we had the 28 largest mining companies represent about a third of the global mining industry unanimously making this commitment. And as I said with Freeport, because of our limited to Scope 3 emissions is not as big a challenge as it is for some other miners and resource companies. But we don't know yet what the cost of this is going to be, and it's going to be significant. I mean there is just no way around it. You know that was a senior management caterpillar. And to try to think about designing 400 ton haul trucks that can make the grades up these big pits that we have. The battery in those -- at this current level, technology is changing, but then battery weighs a ton and its life is very short. So, you got to deal with all the recharging and tailing systems and so forth. So, there are lots of unknowns here. There is no question it's going to involve a lot of cost.

And right now, while people are really making these commitments in good faith, they're doing it at a time, and we talked about this in our final report, of where it's going to rely on technology advances in some of those things. There's more questions than answers with all of that right now. We kind of have a good, I think we got our arms around converting coal plant in Indonesia. That's one of our big two things. But the question is how do you deal with haulage and electrifying of shovels and -- a lot of shovels are already electric, but just light vehicles and so forth. In our underground mines we have a big electric train helping us to deliver ore but there are going to have to be some investments there. So, it's going to be an unfolding story. And you raised the point that people following us and companies in our industry ought to really be tracking because as we sit here today there's more questions than answers in that area.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

I just might want to add on to that. That's going to be another factor that's going to be a barrier to supply development in Copper business. I mean low grade end of life mines. And when we got, we've got 30 years or so to have this online, but it's going to affect mine life. It's going to affect the economics of project development. All of those things are going to come into play. So in your list of items that are barriers to supply development, this is a factor that you can add to it.

Lawson Langer -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Very fair.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

One of the other things to keep in mind in Indonesia is we have, with the transition to underground, when we were mining in at the surface, we had to move both ore and waste to get the metal production. Here, underground, it's very efficient with the block caving and you're really just mining ore. And so, it is more efficient. As Richard said, we've got some electrical applications underground. Mark talked about expanding that as we look at new developments in KL. So, there are some benefits that we have in Indonesia from the change from surface mining too to our underground mining.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

We were moving 800,000 to a million metric tons a day in that open pit mine. Think about that. We still don't have to move material around to manage waste and deal with our tailing system and so forth, but that's a big change. But we've got plans of developing new mines in the world. This is kind of a conundrum. The world needs more copper and yet more copper until technology breaks through is going to result in more carbon emissions. And this is not the only industry where that's an issue. That's unknown right now, but it is certainly true in our industry.

Lawson Langer -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Thank you for your thoughts.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Orest Wowkodaw from Scotiabank. Your line is now open.

Orest Wowkodaw -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Yes, good morning. Just wondering if we can get some details on the potential timeline for the Bagdad concentrator expansion, like how much time is involved for permitting something like that? And even with the Lone Star expansion, is it fair to say that probably we wouldn't see any capex for either in 2022?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I'll let others answer. We don't have capex for Lone Star with this oxide because we're expanding the oxide. We started out at a certain level and we're stepping it up. But Kathleen, you recall --? [Speech Overlap]

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, it will be small amount of capital in 2022. And at Bagdad where we're really just advancing feasibility next year. So, we are thinking Bagdad is probably still five years out or so before we'll have production. And so, you won't have meaningful capex for another couple of years associated with it. And Lone Star, the next increment of expansion is relatively low in terms of capital intensity. The longer term opportunity is more 2030 type timeframe, but it's meaningful. The big thing that we, we really are focused on is growth through these low capital-intensive opportunities to get more out of what we already have, either through automation or these leach technologies that we're pursuing. And so, that's really where we can impact things in the short term.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

I'm going to put an exclamation point to what Kathleen just said about Bagdad because going back to the early 2000s, there was just a feeling that higher prices would bring production. I mean it -- and that's been the history of the copper industry. But here we are at Bagdad where we already have the reserves, we have established operation, full support of the community, and we're just talking about shortening the reserve life by building a new concentrator. And that's five years out. That's as easy a project as you're going to find in this industry. So, that's what I was just saying, this coming situation, absent some doomsday, global economic situation. They're just going to be a time when the world is going to be very short of copper.

Orest Wowkodaw -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

I couldn't agree more. Richard, just as a quick follow-up. In terms of the capital allocation framework of paying out up to 50% of the technically free cash flow, how does the smelter capex it into that? Is that excluded from the formula or included?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

It is. It's excluded. And you need to keep that in mind because that is a PT-FI project. It's good. I mean, that was one of the goals I was trying to achieve when we were negotiating on this back in 2018, is we consolidate PT-FI. The economics of -- so, that will show up as consolidated debt for us, but it's financed at the subsidiary level. The obligation is going to be shared by the two shareholders FCX and MIND ID. It will go into PT-FI's tax calculations. So, the project will be something that will affect PT-FI's taxes. And when you step back from that Indonesian operations, I was really pleased to -- I don't know -- if you review the Indonesian media coverage where they just had these athletic games in Tarkwa, where the President was there and senior government people. They had to ground bake, breaking aggressive [Phonetic] I have never in 30 years seen such positive comments in the media in Indonesia about Freeport as we saw with these. And the President is recognizing what a great investment the country made when they bought out Rio Tinto's joint venture interest in 2018. We've already started paying dividends. The dividends are going to be really spectacular for the government going forward. And when you look at the government's equity position, their 51% share of equity which we'll step up to that in stages. If you look at the high tax rate, we have royalties we pay. If you look at the payments that are made for intercompany transfers to FCX. The government's economic interest in the project exceeds 70%. We were able to retain through the negotiations, the interest we had going into it. So, this is truly something that all the parties are very happy with. And what a release it is to be working in Indonesia and not have to deal with the kinds of complications we had for so many years.

Orest Wowkodaw -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Thanks, Richard.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Carlos De Alba with Morgan Stanley. Your line is now open.

Carlos De Alba -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Yes. Thank you very much. Good morning, Richard and Kathleen. And just on KL, how much, if anything, of the estimated 400 million of copper at KL would be incremental or 100% would be just you doing a place to sustain new production profile in Indonesia? And together with that, and just following on the discussion that we just had on the prior question, how do you envision, Richard? What are you seeing on the negotiating table for the potential extension of the riot in Indonesia? Will the government potentially get a higher stake in PT Indonesia or what are the scopes of the nego -- what is the scope of the negotiations?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. So, it's your first question, and Kathleen help me -- [Speech Overlap] Let me just say though. We give a five-year outlook for PT-FI's production. And is that in these, in the press release?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. So, Carlos, just follow that. And you can see that as I said before, this is more of a question of sustaining production levels as opposed to a growth project. So -- but you can see what we show for five years and that will give you a view of the trend going forward. Now with respect to your second question, it's really early stages, but we have approached it and I have talked with senior government people about it and our partner MIND ID, the state-owned company, under the auspices of the minister of state-owned enterprises, everybody recognizes the mutual benefits bar. Sure the government would like a bigger interest, but think about the complications of that, because with an extension we will want to start, as Mark said, we've got opportunities to KL and elsewhere to invest and we will make those investments in advance of 2041. And so, we have to balance out, how do you share those cost where we basically have 50% economics of new investments with what's our interest going to be going forward? So, that's early days to be discussed. Tried to raise it earlier, but it was just not possible to get traction on those discussions, but the logic, it benefits to all stakeholders to finding a way forward on this are clear-cut.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

The alignment between the FCX and the government is really good, to have the kind of incentives for both parties, you know to have a win-win. And that's what really we've tried to design in 2018. And that's really what's happened.

Carlos De Alba -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

That's very clear. And given everything that goes around developing a project of this magnitude, KL, what would be ideally the extension of the time for those ideas [Phonetic] you were looking for, 20 years to 30 years or something around those lines?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Well, just to be clear on KL --

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

To be clear on KL. Yes, Kathleen. Those economics are baked into a 2041 drop-dead date.

Carlos De Alba -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

So, they are not dependent on extension. What the opportunity is, is to make the KL bigger and to find other resources because we really have done very limited delineation type exploration work in a number of years. And so, we don't know the answers, but we're optimistic that there is resources there that we don't know about yet. And you know the best answer is for projects like this did not have a timeframe but to have incentives for all the parties to work to maximize the resources over the long term. Timeframes make no sense.

Carlos De Alba -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

But I want to be clear the KL economics are not dependent on an extension. The current project.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Brian MacArthur with Raymond James. Your line is now open.

Brian MacArthur -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Well, Richard, you just answered the question I had right there. So, maybe I'll try something else. Just on the molybdenum business. Obviously, it's doing a lot better. I see Climax has come up a little but what's the strategy going forward? Like, do you plan to ramp things up more there and at Sierrita, which obviously had a big moly credit? Like, why wouldn't it be ramped up figuring the whole thing in the near term too?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we benefited at Freeport because of some very significant investments in that molybdenum business prior to our acquisition of Phelps Dodge. I mean, creating the processing facilities, capabilities. Mike Kendrick is on the line, he can chip in on this. But rather than just being a metal producer and a byproduct producer, the past efforts created a really sustainable global leading business of where we are able to maximize the value of our ore resources in Colorado from our molybdenum mines through the by-product credits in North America and South America, and we can expect those to come with expansion projects and moreover. And so, we were able to generate higher than the metal price value from molybdenum back processing as a chemical products. And we run this thing as a business. It obviously ebbs and flows with the price of molybdenum, today's price. Look at it in four years and a lot of cash is coming out of that business. But it's strategically important to us. We just got a great team. It's a global team. They work together very well. Colorado is a state where you've got, all states are, but you got to be very careful about environmental management. The city of Denver gets maybe 10% of its drinking water off of Climax Mountain. And so -- but it's a business that goes back 100 years, more than 100 years, for our predecessors. And it's strategically very important. And now, it's generating cash.

Mike, you want to add anything to that?

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

I was going to add, Richard. Brian, we do have opportunities to increase primary moly production at the Climax Mine. And if you think about what the big deficits people are talking about in copper, there could be mounting deficits in moly at some point. And so, we want to be in a position -- and that's what our primary mines can do is meet market demand. And then, we've got, we had curtailed capacity in the past to match up with markets and now we have the opportunity potentially to increase. And so, we're going to be doing some mine stripping and that sort of thing to be positioned, so that the markets are there, we can be there to participate with this quality product that the market wants. So, we're looking at all of that.

And Mike, if you want to add something to that?

Michael J. Kendrick -- President-Climax Molybdenum Co.

No, I think you both have captured it really well, is that we've made, Freeport has made tremendous investments in the moly business over the last decade, including the Climax Mine, a tremendously productive circuit at Cerro Verde and at our other by-product circuits in North America. And we've been able to take that with our downstream operations that we've inherited and we've made incremental investments over time there and they're very productive. And we can service not only the metallurgical, but the chemical industry and the lubricant industry very well. And as Kathleen says, we're definitely evaluating the next steps.

Brian MacArthur -- Raymond James -- Analyst

And sorry, just on Sierrita, given the big moly credit there, is that all the way back to full capacity yet?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Josh?

Joshua F. Olmsted -- President and Chief Operating Officer-Americas

Yes, good morning. Yes, I was going to jump in with respect to Sierrita. So, we've been ramping back up at Sierrita in terms of the mine plan and stripping over the last 6 months to 8 months. And so, if you think about it from a moly perspective, it's really been driven by the sequencing and the grade available in the mine. And so, as the moly price has gone up, they're looking at what's the best way to optimize the value at Sierrita but the upside is incremental. It's not significant because the mill of that its capacity as we sit today and going forward. There's opportunities, as Kathleen touched on earlier with respect to incremental billing rate increases, which we're working on through the data analytics and digital type tools. But it will be incremental at best as we go forward.

Brian MacArthur -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Brian.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Brian.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Alex Hacking from Citi. The line is open.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Alex.

Alex Hacking -- Citi -- Analyst

Thanks. My question was already answered, which was around the economics of KL, if the contract of work is not extended beyond 2041, but you were very clear that the economics work in that scenario. So, I'll let someone else ask a question. Thanks.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Alex.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Michael Dudas from Vertical Research. Your line is now open.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Michael.

Michael Dudas -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

Good morning, Richard, Kathleen. This is great, great news on the relationship with the Indonesian government. Maybe you can share some additional thoughts on what you're observing in Peru with the new administration? What's coming up in Chile in the fall on elections? And is there anything out of Washington with all the noise that could impact mining, could impact potential investment or how the mining industry will react as some of the legislation comes forward?

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

All right. Well, I got to just put my comments with those questions.

Michael Dudas -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

Sorry about that. Sorry about that. Richard.

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

No, no, no, it's the world we live in. Chile is separate from Peru. And it's got a really a lot of questions about it right now. It's driven by this wide spread feeling within the country of people as people are having around the world; dealing with income, inequalities and social problems versus other government initiatives and so forth. And it's got a complicated election coming up. There is no clear-cut front-runner right now. Their process is going on within the Parliament, within issues related to consideration; constitutional changes. And so, it's really, from my perspective, muddy waters there. It's not currently nearly as significant as Peru in terms of El Abra's production is a small part of our production, but it is affecting our consideration of expansion. But we're working with the industry. We're not at the top of the charts in terms of production there. So, we're working with others on it.

In Peru, Peru always consistently has complicated presidential politics. And we've seen this story before, where unless a leading candidate gets into office and runs own platforms that are very much addressing getting more money out of mining companies. And President Castillo ran on that platform. He had the backing of the far left wing parties there. I got the medium within this past month. He came to Washington. It was a Sunday before [Indecipherable] and with a small group mining executives had dinner with him; my first time to the meeting. He comes from a non-political, non-political leader background. He was a teacher in the interior of Peru. And when he talked to us at night, I found him to be very compelling in his emotional feelings about doing more to help the people from the region where he came from, but also throughout Peru; the poor people in terms of education and so forth. And I didn't know what to expect when I went there. I had a better feeling that I had gone into it. He listened. I had the chance to have exchanges about different issues. We did not get into -- none of us got into the details about specific fiscal proposals and so forth.

But he emphasized that he recognized the importance that mining plays in Peru. And that's what always happens when people get an office to achieve social problems, they see how much mining contributes to the countries financially and that's needed to do other things. So, I'm having a lot of conversations with other CEOs and countries that operate in Peru. After that meeting, he revamped his cabinet at the very outset of his administration and replaced a very aggressive guy that was Prime Minister. And so, it's a really wait and see thing. But I'm more encouraged about it. We're working with others in the industry. We need to be responsive to his concerns. And that's what I'm trying to -- we focus all of our -- almost all of our community programs on the regions where we operate. I think we've got to take a broader view and show people in the interior that mining can help their lives. And so, that's what I'm working on right now. And so, I am more optimistic now than I was during the election. You will hear different views by different miners there. People are very concerned, rightly so.

Our situation is we have a new stability agreement. We're maximizing the operations at Cerro Verde. It is a big producer, major contributor to our volumes. It's got the world's largest mine site concentrate facilities. We have great relationships with the local community. So, we want to build off that and try to reach out and find some common ground to work with President Castillo.But it's uncertain. Man, what about the US? What can you say? I mean it's just a head scratcher about what all is going on in Washington these days. And you know the current administration I think recognize the importance of minerals like copper to achieve their goals of climate change, and yet, I don't expect them to lessen up any requirements for permitting environmental management community issues because that just runs against the drain of their political situation.

So, it's really uncertain. We're all hopeful we will see some steps toward infrastructure building. The country really needs it. You see it in imports and growth. The bridge is all over the country but I just don't have any comment on the political situation, other than be distressed about it. And we also need to have a more thoughtful approach to relationships with China in this country. And that's a bipartisan issue and it's a complicated one. But China is going to be an important part of our world going forward. I mean the country is too big and the people are very smart. They work hard and they create a lot of economic velocity. So, anyway, I'm staying out of politics and focused on Freeport.

Michael Dudas -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

You sound like a true ambassador, Richard. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Now we'll turn the call over to management for any closing remarks.

Well, Kathleen and I thought going into this thing we have such a good quarter, we would have a real short call, but I really appreciate your good questions. As always there are a lot of complicated issues to face with. I woke up this morning feeling on top of the world and then opened my screen to see for the first, in a number of days, a week day in the market and that's it. That was just god's way of reminding me about the business we're in. But we couldn't be more -- I think you get -- I hope you get the sense, not just from me but from our whole team of just how good we feel about what we've done. And we're not going to focus on what we've done. We are focusing on where we go from here. And it's a long-range business. This is a long-range company. We don't feel any pressure to do anything from any kind of M&A standpoint or be overly aggressive in new investment decisions. We can approach this in a very straightforward and logical way. And in the meantime make a lot of money and show shareholders some gratitude for sticking with us and being part of our company. So, thank you all. If you have follow-up questions as always, let David know and we'll be responsive. [Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 91 minutes

Call participants:

Kathleen L. Quirk -- President and Chief Financial Officer

Richard C. Adkerson -- Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Mark J. Johnson -- Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Michael J. Kendrick -- President-Climax Molybdenum Co.

Joshua F. Olmsted -- President and Chief Operating Officer-Americas

Michael Glick -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Emily Chieng -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

David Gagliano -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Chris LaFemina -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Lawson Langer -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Orest Wowkodaw -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Carlos De Alba -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Brian MacArthur -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Alex Hacking -- Citi -- Analyst

Michael Dudas -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

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