Three Freeport-McMoRan Sites Awarded Copper Mark as Responsible Producers

December 18, 2020

The company's Cerro Verde, El Abra and Atlantic Copper sites may have just recently been awarded the Copper Mark as responsible producers, but the good work to get that designation goes back years.  

"Congratulations to all on this great achievement that shows our commitment to producing copper responsibly," said Josh Olmsted, President and Chief Operating Officer-Americas. "Though we are officially earning this recognition now, this is something we've achieved over many years, not only in the way we work but also in the commitment we have to continuously look for ways to work even better."   

The three sites were only the third, fourth and fifth copper production sites in the world to earn the distinguished international Copper Mark designation as responsible producers. Read the company's  news release for more information.  

Developed by the International Copper Association and introduced in 2020, the Copper Mark is the first and only credible assurance framework to demonstrate the copper industry's responsible production practices and industry contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.  

The company announced its commitment to the Copper Mark September 21, when six of its copper sites had their applications officially accepted. 

It was no surprise to Andrea Vaccari that three company sites so quickly earned the designation, which requires operations to meet 32 different criteria for responsible practices. Once a site successfully passes assessment and the review process, it earns the Copper Mark and can begin using it in promotional materials and commercial documentation such as cathode bundle labels and invoices. It also can be used to demonstrate compliance with the London Metal Exchange's upcoming rules for Responsible Sourcing.  
"The fact that not only our Atlantic smelter in Spain but also both of our South American operations received the designation in a just few months is truly a validation of everything we've been doing for over a decade," said Vaccari, Director-Responsible Production Frameworks and Sustainability. "This is how we work at our sites, and this is why Freeport-McMoRan was one of the companies that played an important role in helping develop the Copper Mark."   

Watch this space 
While Rio Tinto had operations in Utah and Mongolia earn the first two Copper Marks earlier in the year, Freeport-McMoRan isn't resting on its laurels after receiving the third, fourth and fifth Copper Mark designations. Another triad – Miami Smelter, El Paso Rod and Refinery, and Morenci operations – currently are going through the evidence process. Remaining sites in the U.S. and Indonesia will be prioritized in 2021 and 2022.   
Leaders at Cerro Verde, El Abra and Atlantic Copper said receiving the Copper Mark designation is a point of pride for everyone at the sites. 

"Copper Mark is the recognition of the commitment and good work of the great Cerro Verde team, always doing the right thing, practicing Freeport Edge behaviors, and guaranteeing the sustainability of our operations and taking responsibility for our environment," said Derek Cooke, President-Cerro Verde.  
At El Abra, Rubén Funes, President-El Abra, said they received the designation with great pride. "It confirms our commitment to responsible mining since an external and independent review has demonstrated the copper we produce meets high sustainability standards." 
At Atlantic Copper, the designation was lauded by Javier Targhetta, Atlantic Copper President and Senior Vice President-Marketing and Sales, Freeport-McMoRan. 

"The Copper Mark award is the result of an ambitious strategy inspired by Freeport-McMoRan's values," Targhetta said. "Innovating toward sustainable efficiency is in the DNA of our company, and I want to thank the whole Atlantic Copper team for its daily commitment to produce copper for a better world in a responsible way." 

A Rising Brand 
The Copper Mark sets and continually raises the bar among copper producers on environmental, social and governance standards. Rather than a one-and-done corporate award that covers the whole company, certifications are earned on a case-by-case basis by every individual copper site – mine, smelter or refinery.  

Ford, Google, Wieland and Intel are the latest major companies to announce a partnership with the Copper Mark and the interest continues to build down and across our value chains, said David Elliott, President-Freeport-McMoRan Sales Co. 

"The way the commodities market used to work was much more generic in nature – it was not about a companies' brand per se, but whether the metal met a quality standard," Elliott said. "It's not that way anymore. You've got the Fords, the BMWs, the Intels, and they are all working with their supply chains to find out where their metals are coming from and how they are produced."  

To learn more about the Copper Mark, watch this video and read more from the Copper Mark.

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