Mine reclamation is the process of taking land once used by the operation and implementing measures that allow the land to develop natural features or meet an alternate economic or ecological use (a post-mining land use). Generally speaking, reclamation incorporates aspects relating to surface and ground water and air quality, erosion concerns from storm water (and in some cases wind), revegetation of suitable plant species (if applicable) and wildlife habitat. Alternate land uses in mine reclamation may include open space, wildlife habitat, grazing habitat, recreation and educational areas, renewable energy sites, industrial land, and other economically or ecologically productive land uses.

We monitor reclaimed lands to ensure they are developing consistent with the designated post-mining land use. Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) monitoring is one example of a tool used to assess how well certain reclamation areas are functioning as a natural system. We also monitor vegetation on reclaimed lands, including assessing plant variety and growth on reclaimed surfaces. Data generated allows for comparisons between reclaimed lands and native surrounding areas (reference sites) which represent mature native functional landscapes, and provide target values for the final reclaimed landscape. In 2015, we continued LFA and vegetation monitoring on reclaimed lands at several different sites in Arizona.

Large-scale reclamation projects continued during 2015 at our Miami mine and the historic and non-operating Bisbee mine in Arizona. Just over 1450 acres of reclamation work is currently in progress at the Miami mine. In 2015, the Miami mining/reclamation activity transitioned to only reclamation as the mine plan at Miami was completed and the final tons of ore were hauled to the leach stockpiles. Reclamation in 2016 will focus on construction of designed storm water conveyance structures and completing the lower most section of the reclamation project between the #4 and #5 tailings dams. At the historic Bisbee mining district in Arizona, reclamation crews and experts continue work on major voluntary reclamation projects. Bisbee completed the year with just over 1,200 acres of reclamation completed to date. This includes completing innovative reclamation on the north and south concentrator tailings storage areas (CTSAs). The reclamation planning at Bisbee will now focus on the South Bisbee Stockpile, which is approximately 135 acres in size, and will include pioneering efforts around storm water attenuation to match local infrastructure. Since large-scale tailings reclamation efforts were completed during 2014, reclamation completed to date in New Mexico has transitioned to the monitoring and maintenance stage. We now have over 6000 combined acres of reclamation completed at our Tyrone and Chino mines where monitoring to achieve our long term goals includes LFA (as mentioned above), erosion, infiltration, and wildlife monitoring.

In 2015, we continued our 5-year, $2.5 million commitment to assist the Colorado Inactive Mine Reclamation program in leveraging funds from government agencies, industrial partners, and non-profit environmental organizations to reclaim abandoned mine sites that are not associated with our current or prior operations but are within the watersheds in which we operate. The State completed work at the London Mine near our Climax Mine during 2014 and engaged Denver-area children to assist in the revegetation effort by planting seedlings.

Cerro Verde proactively worked on finalizing tailing reclamation test plots to confirm the long-term effectiveness of the purposed closure methods. The closure methods and test plots are design to evaluate cover material placement on Tailings Storage Facilities at SMCV. Engineering and design of the test plots was finalized during 2015 and construction of the plots is scheduled to take place in 2017. The objective of the test plot program is to validate the effectiveness of closure methods and designs outlined in the most recent Cerro Verde Closure Plan update.

Tenke Fungurume Mine (TFM) continues to explore reclamation opportunities with Copper-Cobalt (CuCo) flora and Miombo woodland plant species. The reclamation is focused on reclaiming disturbed lands with locally available soils and plants species collected through the nursery program. TFM continues seed collection efforts. During 2015 the nursery was reconditioned in an effort to increase productivity and better manage more native plant species. Just over 10 hectares of disturbed surfaces were reclaimed with CuCo flora and associated soils. To date, TFM has constructed over 27 hectares of CuCo ecosystems. Over 10,000 trees from the nursery have been planted throughout the site to date.

Land Disturbance Profilea,d
(in hectares)
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
New Land Disturbed
New Land Rehabilitated
Total Land Disturbed and
not Rehabilitated
a. Land associated with currently operating mines and processing facilities
b. The re-start of Climax mine in 2012 added 1,298 hectares to our inventory of disturbed land in 2012.
c. On November 3, 2014, Freeport-McMoRan completed the sale of its 80 percent ownership interests in the Candelaria and Ojos del Salado mining operations.
d. In 2015, a new land registry was developed for Cerro Verde which resulted in a reduction of approximately 1,000 hectares from historically reported data.