Can you provide an overview of Freeport-McMoRan’s operations in the southwestern US, particularly the Lone Star project?

We are based in Phoenix, Arizona, and operate several copper mines and a smelting facility in the state, including Morenci, Bagdad, Sierrita, Safford, and Miami. We also operate two copper mines in New Mexico – Tyrone and Chino, and two primary molybdenum producers in Colorado – Henderson and Climax. We have been mining and developing the oxide resource at Lone Star for the past two years, which has been generating a good return on investment and has the potential to become a cornerstone asset for Freeport. Our production rate started at about 200 million lbs/y of copper and now we’re looking at 300 million lbs/y, and we’re continuing to focus on mining and developing that oxide resource, which is exposing a major sulfide ore body.

What expansion efforts are you carrying out at Bagdad?

In Bagdad, we currently process about 90,000 t/d of material to produce copper and molybdenum concentrate. We see a huge opportunity to expand and double the size of the concentrator and annual output, and we have been doing engineering and scoping work over the past few years. Recently, we began a pre-feasibility study on the project. However, if we decide to build a new facility at Bagdad today, it would not come into production before 2026-2028 at the earliest. This expansion plan fits into our broader strategy of leveraging existing assets in our portfolio for growth.

How does Freeport leverage new technological advancements?

We have been working with analytics for a while now, and Bagdad was a pilot project where we used AI and modeling to leverage data we had gathered over time. Since then, we have been using these tools elsewhere as well. Freeport’s IT group has done a tremendous job in structuring our systems and in-house tools to leverage that data. Over the past few years, we continued to implement new tools that allow us to optimize processes. Our philosophy is not to use technology for technology’s sake, but rather to improve operations. For example, we are working on several leaching initiatives to optimize the 38 billion lbs of copper in our stockpiles that have been deemed unrecoverable based on current technology. We are also leveraging AI to model our data for concentrator and sulfide operations. We are excited about the potential of using AI for leaching.

What are the benefits of operating in Arizona?

Many of our operations have been around for decades, and we have long-standing relationships with our host communities, local governments, and the state of Arizona. We work continuously to foster those important relationships, maintain trust, and contribute to long-term shared value and resilience. In 2021, our site in Miami, Arizona, became the first of our US sites to be awarded the Copper Mark, a comprehensive assurance framework that promotes responsible production practices and demonstrates the industry’s contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Today, all our Arizona sites have been awarded the Copper Mark, bringing the company’s total to 11, with only one site remaining.

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