FCX recognizes that mining impacts the natural environment. We are committed to conducting our mining and processing operations in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts on the environment and supports protection of the natural environment and ecosystems through responsible environmental stewardship, strong management systems and continuous improvement.

Effective environmental protection and stewardship are key to ensuring the long-term viability of our business, including maintaining the necessary support from our host communities and governments.

Our Environmental Policy, most recently updated and approved by the the Board’s Corporate Responsibility Committee in December 2021, serves as the foundation for our protection of the natural environment in the regions where we live and work. In addition to adhering to strict compliance with laws and regulations, implementing risk management strategies based on verifiable data and sound science, we plan and conduct our operations in a manner that seeks to optimize the economic use of resources while minimizing adverse environmental effects, with a particular focus on climate, water, biodiversity and tailings and waste management. We review and account for the environmental impacts of our activities throughout the entire mining life cycle, including through mine closure.

Climate

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OUR APPROACH

As one of the world’s largest copper producers, we understand our critical role in the low-carbon energy transition. We are dedicated to supplying the global economy with responsibly produced copper which includes operating in a manner that manages and mitigates our GHG emissions and other climate-related risks and impacts.

Our climate strategy is founded on three pillars: Reduction, Resilience and Contribution.

decorativeREDUCTION
We strive to reduce, manage and mitigate our GHG emissions, where possible. In 2021, we built upon our initial public target to reduce our GHG emissions intensity in the Americas by 15% per metric ton of copper cathode with an additional commitment to reduce GHG emissions intensity in Indonesia by 30% per metric ton of payable copper, resolving to achieve both by 2030 from our 2018 baseline. We also plan to develop two additional 2030 GHG emissions reduction targets: one for our primary molybdenum sites and one for Atlantic Copper.

decorativeRESILIENCE
We strive to enhance our resilience to both physical and transitional risks associated with climate change for our operations, our host communities and our stakeholders. This includes working proactively to analyze and prepare for an increase in extreme weather events, water stress and other climate change impacts while also supporting our host communities and responding to anticipated market and regulatory demands.

decorativeCONTRIBUTION
We strive to be a positive contributor beyond our operational boundaries by responsibly producing copper and molybdenum that will support the technologies needed to enable the energy transition. This includes collaborating with partners in our value chain, and industry associations, to identify climate-related solutions that will support the transition to a low-carbon economy and ultimately meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In September 2021, we published our updated climate report, which outlines substantial progress in advancing our climate strategy and commitments, including the announcement of our aspiration to net zero by 2050 for our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions. The report also provided an update on progress towards alignment with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and our commitment to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) for our interim 2030 targets.


To learn more about our approach to climate, including our strategy and performance, please read our 2020 CLIMATE REPORT


at a glance climate graphic

COPPER'S ROLE IN THE ENERGY TRANSITION

decorativeThe downstream use of copper is a critical enabler for the technologies that will support the global energy transition, from electrifying vehicles to solar and wind energy. Contributing nearly 9.5% of total worldwide mined copper production, FCX’s role in supplying responsibly produced copper to support global decarbonization is crucial and we are committed to doing our part, both within our own operational boundaries and beyond.

For detailed information on how FCX and the copper industry contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, refer to our 2020 Climate Report.

For more information on copper’s uses, please see the Copper At A Glance page on our website.

Water Stewardship

OUR APPROACH

Water is essential to our work and vital to the long-term sustainability of the company and our host communities. We cannot operate without water and FCX understands the critical importance of managing the impacts of our activities on water availability and quality and respecting the rights of our host communities and Indigenous neighbors.

FCX’s water stewardship program focuses on maximizing our water use efficiency within our operations so that we can minimize our use of new freshwater taken from the natural environment. We are also focused on shifting our water supplies to more sustainable sources (recycled, reused, renewable and lower quality sources), minimizing negative impacts from our operations on water quality and availability in the local catchments, and supporting the development of access to previously unknown, unavailable, or undeveloped water resources.

Reclamation at our Miami mine & smelter, Arizona.In addition to focusing on our own water-related supply risks surrounding our operations, water stewardship also means we are focused on promoting long-term water security for all. We recognize the importance of working collaboratively with our stakeholders to secure access to water in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, and we are dedicated to continuously improving our water programs over time.

The global nature of our operations requires a tailored, site-specific approach to our water strategy. Many of our operations are in arid environments where there is significant competition for water. Conversely, our Colorado and Indonesia operations present a different challenge: receiving so much rainfall that considerable effort goes into managing excess water supply.

Policies & Programs

Globally, our objective is to identify, manage and mitigate both our current and future water-related risks to secure the necessary water resources vital to support our operations over the long term, while equitably supporting the rights and well-being of our local community partners and ecosystems.

Our global water management program goals are the following: (1) improve water use efficiency in our processes, (2) minimize use of new freshwater at our operations, (3) reduce our water footprint by transitioning to renewable, recycled and / or lower quality water sources, and (4) monitor our impact on the surrounding communities and environment by continually reviewing our water supplies and new technologies that can support the reduction of future water requirements.

We support, and are in the process of implementing, the ICMM Water Position Statement, which outlines our commitment to public reporting and responsible water use, including strong and transparent water governance, effective water management and collaboration towards achieving responsible and sustainable water use.

CLIMATE & WATER RESILIENCE

Following our global climate scenario analysis, in early 2022, Freeport began two additional third-party studies to better understand how potential climate-related impacts could materialize at a more localized level. This includes analysis of the physical risks we may face at our locations, including storm frequency and intensity and increasing water stress. This is being done using a combination of regional climate models, local historical data, and meteorological analysis, which will enable us to develop credible site-specific projections of likely precipitation and temperature outcomes through 2100. Our engineering and site teams will then be able to assess how the climate projections may impact our facilities and how they compare with established management practices. Additional ongoing work includes our water team developing precipitation sequences on a site-by-site basis for use in our water models to forecast daily precipitation patterns for future years. This will better enable us to model precipitation patterns at the mine-level and the potential impact on regional water supplies. The combination of this work with the additional analysis from our scenario analysis, will enable us to take a more comprehensive approach to water management at the site level. We plan to report more on this work in our forthcoming climate report.

Water photo in Morenci Arizona


To learn more, please see our 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON SUSTAINABILITY


Biodiversity 

OUR APPROACH

call out quoteFCX understands that the nature of our mining and processing activities means we have a significant responsibility for land management and associated biodiversity. We are committed to proactively managing and mitigating the impacts of our operations on biodiversity, land and surrounding ecosystems, which includes effectively identifying and managing biodiversity-related risks.

We focus on biodiversity and land management across the life cycle of our operations. Site subject matter experts are required to evaluate each potential project area in order to identify and map key features related to biodiversity, cultural resources, water resources and various other environmental factors before any land-disturbing project can commence. Biodiversity and conservation are also key components of our reclamation plans and activities at our sites.

We also are committed to promoting opportunities to contribute to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity both within and beyond our operational boundaries. Our conservation initiatives aim to produce benefits for both biodiversity and people, build trust and support our ability to operate. We seek to engage our employees, local communities and other interested stakeholders in conservation work. We foster diverse partnerships with global stakeholders across public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to achieve greater accountability and promote the long-term efficacy of our biodiversity projects. These collaborations often serve as the basis for our community outreach and education opportunities for learners of all ages — both of which are designed to help build capacity. 

In 2021, we continued our efforts to implement the mitigation hierarchy globally — a framework that emphasizes best practices for managing biodiversity and ecosystems through the avoidance, minimization, restoration and offsetting of impacts. Through consistent and rigorous application of the mitigation hierarchy, we aim to manage risks and potential impacts with the long-term ambition of No Net Loss for new mines and major expansion projects at existing mines.

We recognize the mitigation hierarchy is most effective when implemented during the earliest phases of project planning to help maximize opportunities for avoidance and minimization of impacts. We have integrated the hierarchy into our existing project development process and trained our environmental and operational teams to routinely apply it.

Policies & Programs

Our Environmental Policy states our commitment to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity including an explicit commitment not to explore nor mine at any United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites. Our Environmental Management System (EMS) is our framework for understanding the potential impacts of our operations on biodiversity. Our Environmental Policy and EMS are complemented by the following:

  • Our operational practices are in alignment with the ICMM Position Statement on Mining and Protected Areas, which also includes committing to no mining nor exploring in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • We participate in the Conservation Certification program of the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), which formally recognizes meaningful biodiversity conservation, environmental education and community outreach programs. Seventeen of our operating sites and facilities currently are certified through WHC, 12 of which are recognized with gold-tier certifications. In 2021, Chino, Morenci, Cerro Verde, Bagdad, Miami and Sierrita operations were recertified through WHC.

To learn more, please see our 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON SUSTAINABILITY


Tailings Management

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OUR APPROACH

The health and safety of our workforce, host communities and the environment are fundamental to our extensive tailings management program and approach. Our objective is to have zero fatalities, zero catastrophic failures, and zero unplanned discharges from any of our tailings facilities.

FCX has comprehensive measures in place to ensure our facilities are designed, built, operated and monitored to minimize risk to employees, neighboring host communities and the environment. These measures include substantial internal and external engineering expertise, technological monitoring (including remote sensing), local responsibility and corporate and independent third-party oversight. Our safeguards generally fall within four categories that include: (1) good engineering practices and safe designs, (2) rigorous adherence to construction and operational parameters through monitoring and use of technology, (3) multi-tiered oversight, and (4) adherence to practices grounded in continuous improvement and learning from past experiences, including industry failures and best practices. The safeguards are effectively implemented through the promotion of open and ongoing communication throughout the organization and action at all levels.

Policies & Programs

In 2021, we established a formal standalone Tailings Management Policy which was approved by the the Board’s Corporate Responsibility Committee and outlines our continued commitment to managing our tailings responsibly and effectively. The policy also includes our commitment to implement the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (the Tailings Standard) at our tailings storage facilities.

We maintain robust multi-tiered governance of our tailings programs, as outlined in the following pages, and our Board and executive management are firmly committed to providing the necessary financial and technical resources to maintain the safety of our tailings facilities and systems and the integrity of our tailings management systems globally, with a focus on continuous improvement.

 

Freeport is committed to implementing the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.
As a member of ICMM, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. confirms it agrees to the following statement: As of its official launch on August 5, 2020, all ICMM members are committed to implement the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. All tailings facilities with “Extreme” or “Very high” potential consequences will be in conformance with the Standard by August 5, 2023. All other tailings facilities not in a state of safe closure will be in conformance with the Standard by August 5, 2025. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. currently is working toward meeting this commitment.


To learn more, please see our 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON SUSTAINABILITY


 

Waste Management

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OUR APPROACH

FCX is committed to reducing our environmental impact, which includes the effective management of our mining and non-mining wastes alike. The volume of mining and mineral processing wastes we generate varies depending on site-specific operating plans. These materials are typically managed in designated, engineered stockpiles or impoundments, as discussed in more detail in the prior Tailings Management section.

In addition to responsibly managing our mining and mineral processing waste, we continuously evaluate opportunities to reduce the quantity of non-mining waste generated. We seek to apply the standard protocol of reduce, reuse, recycle wherever possible and implement robust practices to identify, categorize, store and manage non-mining wastes. Through our asset recovery programs, we divert certain materials from the landfill and we strive to increase recycling and reuse of those materials in our operations whenever possible. We also evaluate our hazardous waste streams and, when possible, substitute materials with lower toxicity into our processes.

In addition to FCX’s dedicated TSTs who are responsible for managing our mining and processing waste, we also have a dedicated global waste management team composed of subject matter experts from across the company. The team is responsible for advancing our technical expertise and developing leadership skills through multi-site collaboration. Our experts provide guidance to support global consistency in our waste management programs and adherence to FCX’s environmental policy. The waste management programs identify best practices and opportunities for continuous improvement. We follow local and national regulations and seek to meet or exceed industry best practices for disposing responsibly.


To learn more, please see our 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON SUSTAINABILITY


Mine Closure & Reclamation

OUR APPROACH

FCX understands that effectively reclaiming disturbed land and responsibly closing our mining and processing sites is critical to maintaining the trust of our local communities, governments, and other interested stakeholders, and as such, reclamation and mine closure processes are integral to our site planning and ongoing operations.

We seek to plan and operate our mines in a manner that considers post-mining land use well in advance of mine closure. Likewise, when designing new projects, or expanding existing ones, we plan for how the land can be reclaimed once the mine closes. Our philosophy of responsible production continues when we close our mining and processing sites through to reclamation.

FCX strives to partner collaboratively with our host communities and Indigenous Peoples to define and deliver shared value, throughout the mine life cycle. We not only seek to avoid, minimize and mitigate negative impacts from our operations but also aim to provide long-lasting benefits to our neighbors — beyond closure. We aim to work in partnership with our host communities — which in many cases includes Indigenous Peoples — to help build resiliency and well-being at the individual- and institutional-level to help people thrive over the life of our mines and beyond. At each of our operations, we have mine closure and reclamation plans with site-specific environmental measures designed to minimize long-term impacts, promote ecosystem reestablishment, and protect the watersheds where we operate. To support future anticipated closure and reclamation costs, each operating mine site has asset retirement obligations aligned with approved closure plans and that are estimated and accounted for in accordance with GAAP and are audited by an independent accounting firm.

Most of our mines operate for at least several decades, due to the geological nature of the deposits and the large resource base. As a result, implementation of closure plans may not occur for decades in the future. We plan for and carry out concurrent reclamation when and where there is no interference with the long term mine plans and designs. Concurrent reclamation can take on many forms from completely reclaiming facilities on the mine site at the end of their useful life to designing a new stockpile or tailings facility for closure before it is even constructed. We continually evaluate our sites for possible concurrent reclamation opportunities.

Our reclamation programs incorporate multiple aspects associated with environmental management and community well-being, such as water and air quality, erosion, wildlife and grazing habitats and revegetation programs, working together to advance ecosystem reestablishment. Our traditional post-mining land use has been focused on wildlife habitats, and we increasingly are exploring other opportunities such as open spaces, grazing habitats, recreational and educational uses, renewable energy sites and new industrial uses for our lands post-closure.

Environmental Compliance

Cerro Verde maintains a native plant nursery near our operations in Peru.OUR APPROACH

All of our mining and mineral processing operations and technology centers maintain Environmental Management Systems (EMS) that are certified to the ISO 14001:2015 standard. As part of our EMS, our workforce is trained on site-specific subject areas, trained annually on environmental issues, and is supported by environmental professionals working in the field.

Site management teams identify, manage, and mitigate environmental risks through our risk register process and the use of environmental critical control systems designed to prevent environmental incidents at our operations. Critical controls are focused on the elimination of unplanned off-site releases and prevention or minimization of impacts to water and other natural resources.

At the corporate level, subject matter experts (SMEs) train, develop and support our site teams, routinely conduct site visits, and in some cases, directly manage work closely with a group of site-based experts. Collectively, they are responsible for building technical expertise, ensuring consistency in our environmental programs and sharing best practices.

The EMS at each of our operations are independently audited on an annual basis. The successes of our internal audits and regulatory inspections demonstrate both the strength of our systems and the commitment of our culture and people to maintain compliance even when in-person inspections and audits were paused.

All operations have corrective and preventive action programs associated with the overarching EMS as well as audit and inspection findings. These actions are reviewed by corporate SMEs to ensure such measures are robust and institutionalized for the future.

For more information, please refer to Audits, Assessments and Assurance on our website.


To learn more, please see our 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON SUSTAINABILITY