October 23, 2019 / 12:32 PM / 20 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Freeport posts quarterly loss as copper output slumps

(Corrects paragraph 7 to say year ago profit was 38 cents, not $38)

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Freeport McMoRan Inc reported a third-quarter loss on Wednesday as copper production was hit by lower output at its Peru mine and its move to underground mining at its giant Grasberg mine in Indonesia.

The world's largest publicly listed copper miner has already warned that production at the Grasberg mine in Indonesia is expected to slip as it switches its operations to underground mining from open pit.

Meanwhile, demand for copper, especially from top consumer China, has declined in the past year as the prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war stifles global growth and hurts prices.

The average price Freeport received for its copper fell 6.4% in the third quarter to $2.62 per pound. Copper production fell 14%, while gold output was down 56.2% in the quarter.

Freeport said copper sales were also lower in South America, dented by lower grades and recovery rates at its Cerro Verde mine in Peru.

Anti-mining protests in Peru had held up about $400 million in copper exports from some of the country’s top mines for nearly three weeks in August. Freeport was among miners that were unable to ship copper concentrates. (reut.rs/360LTS6)

The company reported a net loss of $131 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a profit of $556 million, or 38 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss in line with estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Aditya Soni)

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