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REFILE-Freeport expects copper leaching technology to go mainstream

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(Corrects typo in headline)

May 17 (Reuters) - Freeport-McMoRan Inc expects widespread adoption of new leaching technologies that help miners extract low concentrations of copper from waste rock, President Kathleen Quirk said on Tuesday.

Prodded by rising copper prices and demand, Freeport and others have developed new ways to extract the red metal from piles of waste rock stored at mine sites across the globe, with some estimating those piles could contain as much as 100 million tonnes of copper.

"I do believe that others around the industry will pick (leaching) up over time," Quirk said at the Bank of America Global Metals, Mining & Steel Conference. "The size of the prize is so significant."

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder)