Going Green with Copper Inspires Company Float Design

December 13, 2021

Going green with copper was the inspiration for employees at the company's New Mexico sites who designed and built an award-winning float depicting the red metal's contributions to clean energy for a recent Lighted Christmas Parade in Silver City.

The float's theme was Clean Energy Starts with Copper, as copper is vital to the production of everything from electric cars to enhanced electrical grids due to its conductivity. The entry's showcase was an electric-powered sleigh driven by a reindeer atop a truck also adorned with plenty of electric lights, a snowman and Santa's workshop.

The float received the first-place award in the commercial category at the annual parade, which has been held for 31 years and is sponsored by the Silver City Main Street / Arts and Cultural District.

While the float itself is whimsical, the message it conveyed is an important one, said John Swagzdis, Chino Health and Safety Manager. He came up with the idea of a going-green theme after hearing a presentation on the importance of copper to the clean energy future by Richard Adkerson, Chairman and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan.

"Mining has many supporters as well as opponents and somewhere in the middle lies an education opportunity," Swagzdis said. "As we know, green energy isn't possible without mining, so we saw an education opportunity during the holiday season."

Swagzdis conferred with Erich Bower and Randy Ellison, General Managers of Tyrone and Chino respectively, and with Ruth Fox, Administrative Assistant at Chino, who led float design and construction. Workers from both sites pitched in to build the float.

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