Freeport’s Involvement in Busang Awaits Tests
Freeport-McMoRan’s chairman said the company will participate in a mining venture once thought to be the world’s richest find only if a new test proves it is economically feasible. The test results are expected by the end of the week on the Busang field, discovered by Canada’s Bre-X Minerals Ltd. Early tests by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. have indicated the mine holds only a fraction of the gold originally anticipated. Freeport had agreed to acquire a 15% stake to invest up to $400 million to develop the mine. The Busang field, on Indonesia’s portion of the island of Borneo, was believed to contain from 50 million to 200 million ounces of gold, worth about $77 billion.