'We're Encouraged' by US Economy: Freeport CEO

One of the world’s leading producers of copper and gold is “encouraged” by the U.S. economy, its CEO told CNBC Wednesday.

Freeport McMoRan CEO on Copper & Gold Prices

“The world has changed from a positive standpoint over the past year, and we’re encouraged,” Richard Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan said.

“We’re resuming products from some curtailed production in the U.S., we’re hiring some people in Arizona, and we’ve undertaken some significant studies now to do major expansion projects,” Adkerson said, referring to statements the company made after its first-quarter earnings release last month. See the entire interview above.

The U.S. demand for copper has fallen to about 10 percent of Freeport’s production, a far cry from the 40 percent used by China.

“China drives the marketplace and have been increasingly important starting in 2003 and going forward,” Adkerson said.