(On the $5.1Bn investment and expansion program at PCU for the next five years): "We think that due to the crisis our projects could move foward a little slower, but at the end of the day we hope to execute them."
"We do not anticipate the need for credit, as now the situation is very diffuclt due to the US problems, and we can develop the project from our income cash flow....but if it is necessary, togher with the board of diretcors we will see if we can take a little away from the dividend pool to complete the projects if it's difficult to get credit lines." Gonzalez then mentioned that the Tia Maria project (120ktpa Cu) is due online in 2010.
(On the current market prices): "Unfortunately prices (for copper) have dropped considerably, from U$3.20/lb to U$2.70/lb. This will definitely affect us because although this only started at the beginning of September and we don't know how long it will last, income will diminsh due to the lower prices." He then mentioned that cash cost was around $1/lb at present, the rise due to fuel and steel costs. Gonzalez said, "Up to now we believe our projects are feasible; if copper was priced at $1/lb they would not be feasible."
(On market demand): "There is still strong demand from Asian countries. We do not believe they are going to slow construction and technological advance, this different to the USA which is semi-paralyzed.......At the same time we have mines which are suffering from reduced mineral grades or are on strike such as at Cananea, and this copper that is not reaching the market makes supply slightly lower than demand. This will maintain prices."