Richard Adkerson, CEO and vice president of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, said his company has been investing heavily to mitigate the danger of tailings dams and feels “comfortable” with the engineering designs in its mining operations. The senior executive acknowledged that tailings dams are one of the areas with the highest risk of accidents for the company. Adkerson is participating in an industry conference in Florida. “Fundamentally, we are comfortable with the system we have implemented to manage this risk,” he told the press.
The recent tragedy in Brazil that occurred in the state of Minas Gerais, after the containment of the iron ore mining waste of the multinational Vale collapsed and left 179 fatalities in the town of Brumadinho, has brought the issue to the table of conversations of many companies of the mining sector. Freeport-McMoRan is an international company, based in the United States, dedicated to the extraction of natural resources. With approximately 36,000 employees, it has a dynamic portfolio of operational, expansion and growth projects in the copper industry covering four continents. It is also among the main producers of molybdenum and large producer of gold, oil and gas.
In Chile, the company operates the El Abra open pit copper mine, located 75.6 kilometers north of the city of Calama in the Antofagasta Region.
Mining operations at El Abra include solution extraction / electrodeposition facilities, a leaching circuit of 125,000 metric tons per day and leaching operations as it leaves the mine. In operation since 1996, El Abra is conducting prefeasibility studies for a possible large-scale crushing operation to process additional sulfide materials. In recent years, the results of these analyzes in El Abra indicate the existence of a significant source of sulfur, which could possibly support the large-scale crushing project.
Freeport-McMoRan owns 51% of the shareholding in El Abra and the remaining 49% corresponds to the National Copper Corporation of Chile (CODELCO), a state-owned company.
By: Guia Minera