May 14 (Reuters) - Teck Resources Ltd expects to generate annual earnings before interest, depreciation, tax and amortization (EBITDA) of $3 billion if copper prices hit $5 per pound, CEO Jonathan Price said on Tuesday.

For Vancouver, Canada-based Teck, copper is the main driver of profitability after it sold its steel-making coal business to a consortium of buyers led by Swiss miner Glencore for $8.9 billion last year.

Price, speaking at the Bank of America Metals, Mining and Steels conference in Miami, gave a range of predictions for Teck's annual EBITDA at different copper prices, the lowest being $2 billion if copper trades at $4 per pound.

U.S. copper prices

on the CME hit a record peak on Tuesday, with the Comex May contract hitting a high of $5.082 a lb, fueled by robust demand in the United States and fund buying.

The red metal has been in focus after mining giant

BHP's $37 billion offer to buy out rival Anglo American. Analysts have been nudging Teck to explore acquisition options because it is flush with cash from the sale of steel-making business.

But Price said Teck is focused on executing its existing projects when asked whether the company would acquire any copper assets.

"I know there's a lot of discussion in the industry about buy versus build," Price said." And I think when people are looking at projects with capital intensities above $30,000 per ton, perhaps buying capacity makes more sense."

Several industry estimates suggest the cost of building a new copper mine today is around $44,000 per tonne.

(Reporting by Divya Rajagopal; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)