ASARCO INC

ASARCO INC

Previous company name
AMERICAN SMELTING & REFINING CO
Name change date
6/7/1976
Company Overview
ASARCO LLC is a private company engaged in the mining, smelting, and refining of copper, silver, gold, zinc, and related by-products, as well as the manufacture of specialty chemicals for the metal plating and electronics industries. The company was established as the American Smelting and Refining Company in the year 1899. The registered head office of the company is located in Tucson, Arizona.
ASARCO operates as one of the principal subsidiaries of Americas Mining Corporation, a private industrial company which was incorporated in 2000 and is involved in the management activities of holding companies and other related enterprises.
ASARCO is a fully integrated miner, smelter and refiner of copper in the United States. The company’s domestic mines annually produce approximately 350 to 400 million pounds of copper. Significant copper mines include the Mission, Silver Bell and the Ray open-pit mines, all three in Arizona.
ASARCO has solvent extraction/electrowinning product at its Ray and Silver Bell mines in Arizona. The company operates copper smelters in Hayden, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, which combined produce in excess of a billion pounds of anodes annually. Operations at the El Paso smelter were suspended in February 1999. The company’s Amarillo Copper Refinery in Texas and the SX/EW plants at the Ray and Silver Bell mines produce approximately 375 million pounds of refined copper per year.
ASARCO recognizes that all operations and activities of the company should be conducted responsibly and in a manner designed to protect the health and safety of its employees, its customers, the public and the environment. Its operations interact with the environment daily, and consideration of these concerns must be a way of life within the company. ASARCO is committed to a responsible management of its natural resources.
Business Summary
Asarco is primarily engaged in copper production, but also produces specialty chemicals and aggregates. The Company’s copper business includes integrated mining, smelting and refining operations in North America and in Peru through its 54.3% owned subsidiary, Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC). Enthone-OMI, Inc., a subsidiary, operates a worldwide specialty chemicals business focused on functional and decorative coatings for the electronics and metal finishing industries. American Limestone Company, a subsidiary, produces construction aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and agricultural limestone. The Company also operates a custom lead smelting business, a silver mining business, a zinc mining business, a specialty metals business, a waste recycling facility and an environmental consulting and construction firm.
Description and history
Asarco, a New Jersey corporation organized in 1899, is primarily engaged in copper production, but also produces specialty chemicals and aggregates. The Company’s copper business includes integrated mining, smelting and refining operations in North America and in Peru through its 54.3%-owned subsidiary, Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC). Enthone-OMI, Inc., a subsidiary, operates a worldwide specialty chemicals business focused on functional and decorative coatings for the electronics and metal finishing industries. American Limestone Company, also a subsidiary, produces construction aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and agricultural limestone. The Company also operates a custom lead smelting business, a silver mining business, a zinc mining business, and a specialty metals business. In addition, Asarco owns Encycle, Inc., which operates a waste recycling facility, and Hydrometrics, an environmental consulting and construction firm.

Copper

In 1998,Asarco’s beneficial interest in copper mine production was one billion pounds, or 4.9% of Western World copper mine production. The North American copper business includes the Mission and Ray mines in Arizona; a copper smelter in Hayden, Arizona; a copper smelter in El Paso, Texas; and a copper refinery in Amarillo, Texas. Operations at the El Paso smelter were suspended in February 1999 for three years. During the suspension, El Paso will be maintained so that it may be returned to full operation at the end of that period. Asarco also owns a 49.9% interest in Montana Resources’ (MRI) copper-molybdenum mine in Butte, Montana, and a 75% interest in the Silver Bellcopper mine in Arizona. The Company’s Peruvian copper business, operated by SPCC, includes the Toquepala and Cuajone mines, the Ilo smelter and the Ilo refinery, all located in the southern part of Peru.

The Company’s beneficial interest in refined copper production declined in 1998 by 40.3 million pounds,principally as a result of shortages of scrap copper to feed the Amarillo refinery. Full utilization of the increased capacity at SPCC’s Ilo refinery and the SX/EW production increases could not fully offset the lower Amarillo production. The suspension of operations at El Paso will result in a further curtailment at Amarillo of an additional 160 million pounds of copper in 1999. The Company is taking advantage of its large ore reserve base to expand production of low-cost copper in North America and Peru.

Asarco’s Ray Complex in Arizona produced almost 335 million pounds of copper in 1998, of which 91 million pounds came from its SX/EW operations. Total SX/EW production at Ray increased as a result of using new leaching technology involving higher acid concentrations in the leach dumps. The Company’s Silver Bell mine produced over 40 million pounds of SX/EW copper in 1998, 17.5% above design capacity.New loading and hauling equipment at Mission increased equipment availability by14%, reduced maintenance costs by 17% and reduced waste haulage costs by 11%. This equipment has reduced costs at Mission by $9.5 million per year. Asarco’s Mission Complex produced 255 million pounds of copper in 1998. New drilling, loading and hauling equipment added in late 1997 and during 1998 at Ray, Cuajone and Toquepala have provided similar benefits.

Modernization of the Hayden smelter’s gas handling system and the process control system was completed in 1998. These improvements are expected to further increase production rates and reduce operating costs. An expansion program at SPCC’s Cuajone mine, which started up in late 1998, will add 130 million pounds of copper per year from that mine. SPCC has launched a new project to add 26 million pounds of SX/EW production at its Toquepala leach dumps.Low-cost SX/EW operations at SPCC’s Toquepala mine produced 104 million pounds of refined cathode in 1998, 30% above the 80 million pound design capacity.

Annual production of refined cathode increased 17% in 1997 and increased an additional 6% to more than 543 million pounds in 1998. A company-wide cost reduction program was instituted in late 1997 to respond to lower metal prices. At Southern Peru Copper a similar program began in the second quarter of 1998. The programs include reductions in personnel, general and administrative expenses and purchased services and supplies as well as equipment upgrades, and other operating improvements.

Asarco’s copper business has a large copper ore reserve position which, including mineralized material at SPCC, totals 5.4 billion tons at the end of 1998. The Company’s beneficial interest in its ore reserve is 3.6 billion tons containing 39.2 billion pounds of copper.

Specialty Chemicals

Enthone-OMI, Inc.is a worldwide supplier of proprietary chemicals used to produce functional and decorative coatings on metals and plastics for the electronics and metal finishing industries. Enthone-OMI’s worldwide operations include 14 manufacturing sites, six research facilities and 19 major sales and distribution centers. Asarco’s involvement in the specialty chemicals business started more than four decades ago with the acquisition of Enthone, Inc., a small, regional company based in New Haven, Connecticut.

American Limestone Company produces construction aggregates, ready-mixed concrete and agricultural limestone. Products are sold in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina. Construction aggregates are American Limestone’s principal product. Construction aggregates make up more than 80% of the content of asphalt paving and over 90% of concrete. Nationally, highway construction accounts for 40% of construction aggregate sales.

Other Metals

Asarco owns a 50% interest in Silver Valley Resources, Inc., which owns and operates the Coeur and Galena mines in Wallace, Idaho. The Company also owns a 75% interest in the Troy, Montana silver-copper mine, which currently is on standby. The Company plans to restart Troy in conjunction with the development of the nearby Rock Creek silver-copper deposit, which has been in the permitting process since 1987. The Company submitted a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for Rock Creek in 1997. The Company operates four zinc mines near Knoxville, Tennessee, and also produces zinc as a co-product at its Black Cloud mine in Leadville, Colorado. Suspension of operations at the Leadville mine was announced in January 1999. Leadville had produced lead, zinc and silver since 1971. The depletion of ore reserves forced closure of the mine.

The Company operates a specialty metals business at its Globe Plant in Denver, Colorado. Profitability of the Globe Plant,which produces litharge, bismuth compounds and high-purity metals, declined in 1998 due to curtailments in gold exploration activity, which is a major consumer of litharge. The East Helena, Montana lead smelter is Asarco’s only remaining custom smelting facility. Lead bullion produced at East Helena is sold to refineries located outside the United States. The Company permanently closed its Omaha lead refinery in 1997 and continues to work with the City of Omaha and the State of Nebraska to convert the former plant site into a park. The custom lead business depends on the availability of precious metal-bearing lead concentrates from United States and South American mines. The East Helena smelter was not profitable in 1998.

Asarco is currently the target of a hostile takeover by Phelps Dodge Corporation, a major mining concern that is also launching a hostile takeover of Cyprus Amax Minerals.Asarco and Cyprus Amax Minerals have a pending merger agreement which is now on hold due to Phelps’ hostile takeover bids. In addition, Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V., which hold’s a 10% stake in Asarco, has recently countered
Phelps’ bid with a higher offer. Discussion are ongoing.

Established as the American Smelting and Refining Company

Business Line
Engaged in the mining, smelting, and refining of copper, silver, gold, zinc, and related by-products, as well as the manufacture of specialty chemicals for the metal plating and electronics industries
Subsidiary
ALC INC
Advisor
KPMG LLP
IPO date

US SIC Code
3331
Company Address
180, Maiden Lane

City province or state postal code
10038, NEW YORK, NY
Phone: +1 212 510 2000
Fax: +1 212 510 1855
Country address: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Website url: www.asarco.com

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