Freeport’s Adkerson does not want to sell Grasberg mine to Barrick – by Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – February 24, 2020)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Reuters) – Freeport McMoRan Inc (FCX.N) is not interested in selling its Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said on Monday, tamping down speculation of a deal with Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO).

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow in recent weeks has expressed interest in buying Grasberg. Earlier this month Bristow said he sees no competition for the asset from global or state-backed Chinese miners.

That back and forth from two of the mining industry’s most-powerful executives comes as investors are expecting a wave of buyouts this year, especially for copper assets.

Copper is a key material used in construction and electric vehicle motors. Many analysts expect a supply crunch in the next decade.

“Now’s just not the time for Freeport to think about doing a big strategic move,” Adkerson said at the BMO Global Metals and Mining Conference in Florida.

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