Freeport-McMoRan’s Morenci Operations started in 1872, when the first commercial mining operations were developed. The initial underground mining began in 1881 and the mine later transitioned to open-pit mining beginning in 1937. In 1987 Morenci commissioned its first solution extraction/electrowinning plant and continued as a pioneer for mining technology. Today Morenci is one of North America’s largest producers of copper and one of the largest open-pit mines in the world with great potential for growth and continued prosperity.
In 2016, copper production at Morenci* amounted to 848 million pounds.
As of September 30, 2017, copper production at Morenci amounted to 554 million pounds and nearly 3,300 people were employed here.
Morenci Operations Fast Facts
- Morenci is an open-pit copper mining complex in Southeast Arizona, about 50 miles northeast of Safford
- Mining rates of 900,000 metric tons per day (mtd), milling rates of 115,000 mtd and crushed leach rates of 68,000 mtd
- In 2016, Morenci & Safford Mine’s direct and indirect economic impact on Arizona totaled $978.5 Million
- To learn about the various sustainable development projects in Morenci, click here
- Morenci has several operations, such as the following:
- A concentrator that produces copper and molybdenum concentrate
- A crushed-ore leach pad and stacking system
- A low-grade run-of-mine leaching system
- Four solution extraction plants
- Three electrowinning tank houses that produce copper cathode
- A mill expansion to 115,000 mtd was completed in 2014, with an incremental annual copper production of 225 million pounds
- Ownership: 72 percent (undivided interest); 15 percent by Sumitomo Metal Mining Arizona Inc. (SMMAz is owned 80 percent by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. (SMM) and 20 percent by Sumitomo Corporation), and 13 percent by SMM Morenci Inc. that is fully owned by SMM
* Amounts are net of Morenci’s joint venture partners’ interests – 15 percent until May 31, 2016 and 28 percent thereafter venture partner’s interest.