Top US gold miner Newmont announces move towards copper

Newmont Mining Corp. CEO Gary Goldberg announced Tuesday that he's open to expanding copper production, in addition to the company's core gold business.

Goldberg says that the company's three copper-gold projects are "very good core capabilities that we can leverage into copper," Reuters reported Tuesday.

"Two years ago you probably would not have been saying copper…there was a premium for gold producers."

But falling, volatile gold prices and rising operating costs have pushed the miner towards diversification. Any moves into copper would help the company move downward on the cost curve and avoid more extreme "social, political and technical risks," according to Goldberg.

The CEO also tempered optimism about a speedy return to production at Newmont's Conga project just a couple days after Peru's Minister of Energy and Mines announced his government's desire to get the project back on track 'soon'.

A restart at Conga is "not imminent," said Goldberg, adding that whilst the situation is improving, a decision by Newmont's Board on the controversial project would not be taken until 2015 at the earliest.

Newmont has assets or operations in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico.

Founded in 1921, Newmont is one of the world’s largest gold producers and is the only gold company included in the S&P 500 Index and Fortune 500. The company has approximately 34,000 employees and contractors worldwide.