Freeport-McMoRan (Freeport) has achieved the Copper Mark at all 12 of its copper producing operations globally. Freeport’s most recent copper operation to receive the Copper Mark is PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI) Grasberg – one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines. In addition, Freeport’s two primary molybdenum sites, the Climax and Henderson operations, were awarded the Molybdenum Mark.
The Copper Mark is the 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 ESG.
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 operates a riverine tailings management system which the Copper Mark recognizes as one such issue.
As a matter of principle, the Copper Mark expects participants to manage tailings with the goal of causing zero harm to people and the environment. It requires all participants to review all possible tailings systems alternatives and to implement the system that is the most aligned with the overall objective to cause zero harm.
In addition, following extensive consultation in 2021, the Copper Mark adopted its Interim Guidance for Tailings Management. The Interim Tailings Guidance 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 extensive, independent onsite assessment of PT-FI Grasberg confirmed the site’s conformance with the current Copper Mark expectations and standards, including the Interim Tailings Guidance. Detailed information on these requirements and the assessment activities undertaken at PT-FI Grasberg are published here.
The Copper Mark is also developing additional guidance for any participating sites that are identified as having significant long term environmental or social impact issues. Once finalized, 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 recognize 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.
We invite any interested stakeholder to visit our website for any questions or further information.”