The world's largest publicly held copper producer, Freeport-McMoRan
These slides have taken place in spite of gold's increased prices and the possibility that molybdenum, which the company also mines, is headed higher. Indeed, Toronto-based Thompson Creek Metals
And so, should price improvements occur -- Rio Tinto
Its Grasberg operation in Papua, Indonesia, is the world's largest copper and gold mine in terms of reserves. And its still-new Tenke Fungurume operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo began producing copper cathode slightly more than a year ago. At the same time, that operation is moving toward full-scale production of cobalt and sulphuric acid.
In addition to its byproduct status at a couple of the U.S. copper mines, molybdenum is also produced at an underground mine in Colorado. Further, the company is considering restarting construction of another molybdenum project, which was shut down because of weak demand beginning in the final quarter of 2008. At the same time, exploration and capacity expansions are occurring at several of the company's facilities.
Freeport-McMoRan came into its own in 2007 when it acquired Phelps Dodge, a copper producer twice its size. Now, while I'm not making a solid prediction, it wouldn't surprise me if Freeport were to become an attractive target of the likes of BHP Billiton
On that basis, as either a stand-alone company or the apple of another's eye, if you inquire whether Freeport is a buy, I wouldn't hesitate for a second with my affirmative response.