Take one mine, two commodities, and soaring prices, and you basically have the Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) story in a nutshell. It's great to be a producer of copper and gold when those commodities have traded the way they have in the past year or two, and it certainly doesn't hurt to be a lower-cost producer. The question, as it often is for commodity companies, is how long this will last.

Lots of companies talk about giving 110% to shareholders, but Freeport actually did it -- net income was up 110% this quarter. That comes atop revenue growth of 58% and operating income growth of 72%, as the company benefited from a better tax rate and such.

If there's an downside, it's that the quarter could have been better. Freeport has something of a history of over-promising -- and this quarter wasn't any different. All in all, production was down 22% in copper and 48% in gold, thanks in part to clay content in the ore and some weather issues that also affected sales volumes. All the same, when realized pricing jumps by 118% and 43% -- as it did for copper and gold -- that covers up a lot of sins.

Now comes the wet blanket part of today's column. Simply put, Freeport-McMoRan is the sort of stock that demands a pretty high risk threshold from its owners. The company has essentially one mining asset (though what an asset it is), and who knows what could happen in terms of politics and unrest. It wasn't as though mineral and resource companies in Iran or Venezuela were on the ball when things changed in their corners of the world.

What's more, there's an issue that also pertains to other miners such as Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP), Phelps Dodge (NYSE:PD), and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP). Namely, the current price of many metals is well ahead of their marginal cost of production. Over the long haul, those discrepancies vanish as demand declines and/or supply comes on line. What's very important to remember, though, is that while the eventual decline of prices might be a near-certainty, the timing is anything but. A strike at a major mine in Chile, for instance, would boost prices, as would any sort of mine-related technical problem in some other part of the world.

As my copper crystal ball is more of a snow globe, I don't have any definite feelings on Freeport-McMoRan beyond saying that it isn't my kind of stock. Your mileage may be different than mine, but be sure to do some careful due diligence before diving in.

For more Foolish metal missives:

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).