PHOENIX (Yosefardi) – Freeport-McMoRan Inc. said its Indonesian operation, PT Freeport Indonesia (PT FI), sold 285 thousand ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2015, dropped 43.5% from 505 thousand ounces of gold in the same period of 2014.

PT FI’s also reported its third-quarter 2015 sales of 198 million pounds of copper, lower than third-quarter 2014 sales of 258 million pounds of copper.

The sales drop was primarily reflecting lower ore grades and El Niño weather conditions, as well as timing of shipments in third-quarter 2014 related to the lifting of export restrictions in late July 2014.

As a result of mill process water limitations because of continuing El Niño weather conditions and mill maintenance activities, PT-FI has adjusted its forecast to anticipate an approximate 15% reduction in fourth-quarter 2015 mill rates from the previous plan.

The resulting impact of these factors is a deferral of 70 million pounds of copper and 70 thousand ounces of gold from fourth-quarter 2015 to future periods. In addition, lower than forecasted mining rates in the second half of 2015 are expected to result in a deferral of high-grade ore to future periods.

PT-FI expects ore grades to improve significantly in 2016 and 2017 with access to higher grade sections of the Grasberg open pit, resulting in higher production and lower unit net cash costs.

At the Grasberg mine, the sequencing of mining areas with varying ore grades causes fluctuations in quarterly and annual production of copper and gold. Sales from Indonesia mining are expected to approximate 760 million pounds of copper and 1.2 million ounces of gold for the year 2015, compared with 664 million pounds of copper and 1.2 million ounces of gold for the year 2014.