Cyprus Amax being pursued by Phelps Dodge |

Cyprus Amax being pursued by Phelps Dodge

PHOENIX (AP) — Phelps Dodge Corp. made two unsolicited proposals Friday to acquire Asarco Inc. and Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., two of the world’s leading producers of copper and metals, in a stock-for-stock merger.

Asarco and Cyprus, meanwhile, announced a merger that would form the largest publicly traded copper company.

Phelps Dodge made both proposals individually.

Officials at New York-based Asarco said their board decided Thursday to reject Phelps Dodge’s offer and reconfirm the merger with Cyprus Inc.

Phoenix-based Phelps Dodge said their tax-free mergers with Asarco and Englewood, Colo.-based Cyprus, would create ”a large, resource-rich portfolio of lower-cost global copper assets” and estimated worldwide copper production of the combined companies would reach 3.8 billion pounds annually.

The proposals from Phelps Dodge were the most recent in ”numerous unsuccessful attempts to negotiate business combinations with both companies,” the company reported.

Phelps Dodge recently slashed its production by closing mines, smelters and refineries throughout the Southwest, laying off approximately 1,650 workers.