Freeport-McMoRan Chairman Steps Down, Mining Financing Running Low

Mining took center stage as we wind down the year. Freeport-McMoRan saw a key executive step down and financing from streaming deals is drying up.

Freeport Executive Steps Down

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Executive Chairman James R. Moffett, who built an empire from one of the world’s biggest copper mines, is stepping down months after activist investor Carl Icahn took an 8.5% stake in the largest US mining company.

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Moffett, who co-founded Freeport, will take away $63.3 million in cash retirement plans and $16.1 million in severance.

Mining Financiers Running Low on Cash

Companies that provide the vast majority of mining financing through “streaming deals” are running low on capital after striking a record $4.07 billion of deals in 2015, nearly quintuple the level in 2014.

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“We just don’t feel the pressure that we need to go out and duplicate our efforts that we did in 2015,” said Tony Jensen, chief executive of Denver-based Royal Gold Inc., one of the big streaming companies. He said the company has about $450 million available for new loans. That compares with about $1.3 billion for 2015, according to estimates by Canaccord Genuity, a financial-services firm.

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