Freeport-McMoRan receives one international and two state-based awards related to the conservation of wildlife and the environment from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

December 19, 2018
The Copper Era

Biodiversity mascots

Biodiversity mascots Buzz the bee and Chira the bat pose with volunteers from Morenci operations. The two mascots are part of a biodiversity program Morenci helps present to local schools. A media release from the mining company noted receiving one international and two state-based awards related to the conservation of wildlife and the environment.

Freeport-McMoRan earns its money pulling precious minerals out of the earth, but this month, it’s being recognized for what it gives back.

For wildlife, Freeport picked up the SPADE Award for bat conservation for protecting and monitoring 1.5 million bats in the Eagle Creek bat cave.

“Each year, the WHC recognizes excellence in corporate conservation with awards honoring programs and projects in wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration, and conservation education,” the release stated.

It also picked up the Wildlife Habitat Council Mammals Award for its work relocating bighorn sheep in Greenlee County. That program moves populations of sheep to areas in central and eastern Arizona to reinforce local populations and lower mortality rates. Freeport partners with state organizations such as the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, which took action to protect populations of the animal earlier this year from diseases being passed by.

“We value these individual animals but must manage for the health of the whole bighorn population,” AZGFD regional supervisor Mike Sumner said earlier this year following a small group of the animals being euthanized.

Lastly, Freeport earned the Voluntary Environmental Stewardship Program Award from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The release states that the award “recognizes companies that maintain an exemplary record of environmental compliance and go above and beyond the legal requirements to protect and enhance public health and the environment.”

Thanking their partners, Josh Olmsted, senior vice president-North America Copper, said, “Being a good neighbor and giving back to our community includes making sure we protect and conserve the natural world around us. We are honored to receive these awards and proud of our partnerships with a range of stakeholders — environmental agencies, wildlife organizations, our employees and the local community — that make these programs possible and a success for our entire community.”

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