Freeport-McMoRan has achieved the Copper Mark at all 12 of its copper producing operations globally after adding its 48.76%-owned Grasberg mine, in Indonesia, to the lineup.
The Copper Mark is an assurance framework to promote responsible production practices for copper, built on the vision of improving practices across the whole industry over time. Its participants commit to fully meet the Copper Mark’s standards within two years of signing up to the assurance process and to continuously strengthen practices as these standards continue to be updated to align with increasing stakeholder expectations on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
The Copper Mark seeks to promote transparency and accountability of its participants in general and especially in the case where a participating site manages complex issues that have significant environmental or social impacts. PT-FI Grasberg, the operating entity for Grasberg, owned 48.76% by Freeport and 51.24% by PT Inalum and PT Indonesia, operates a riverine tailings management system which the Copper Mark recognizes as one such issue.
In addition to the Copper Mark advances, Freeport’s two primary molybdenum sites, the Climax and Henderson operations in USA, were awarded the Molybdenum Mark.
The extensive, independent on-site assessment of PT-FI Grasberg confirmed the site’s conformance with the current Copper Mark expectations and standards, including the Interim Tailings Guidance, which requires all participants to implement the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management, where applicable, and also specifies the expectations for riverine, ocean and lake tailings systems.
The Copper Mark is also developing additional guidance for any participating sites identified as having significant long-term environmental or social impact issues. Once finalised, PT-FI Grasberg will be required to demonstrate conformance with these additional requirements through onsite third-party assurance.
Executive Director of the Copper Mark, Michèle Brülhart, said: “We congratulate Freeport-McMoRan for achieving the Copper Mark at all of its copper operations globally and we are thrilled to see the company continue its commitment to demonstrating its responsible production practices with its two primary molybdenum sites to receiving the Molybdenum Mark.
“We recognise the significant impacts caused by the riverine tailings system at PT-FI Grasberg. During extensive discussions in 2021, the Copper Mark considered available standards and guidance on how to manage riverine, ocean and lake tailings systems. We believe it is essential to engage with copper producers operating in complex environments with a view to increase transparency and provide independently verified information on how sites prevent, minimize and remedy negative impacts.”