Mining News from Mountaintop, and Museum
Leadville’s International Connection with Moly
Yesterday, March 24, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) announced that its Board of Directors (“Board”) declared a cash dividend of $0.075 per share on FCX’s common stock payable on May 3, 2021, to stockholders of record as of April 15, 2021.
While the press release distributed by the international mining giant is in-line with standard practices as a publicly-traded company, PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, it’s always a good opportunity to give readers in Leadville Today a chance to catch up on some business news from the top of Fremont Pass, home to the Climax Molybdenum Mine, which is also an FCX holding.
It was back in February 2021 when Freeport-McMoRan announced that Gerald J. Ford, non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, would retire as a director effective upon the expiration of his current term, which ends in June 2021. In light of his impending retirement, Mr. Ford stepped down as non-executive Chairman.
The Board then appointed Richard C. Adkerson as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Adkerson will also continue to lead the company as Chief Executive Officer. The independent directors of the Board have appointed Dustan E. McCoy as Lead Independent Director and Lydia H. Kennard as Chair of the Governance Committee. Fran Townsend will continue to Chair the Corporate Responsibility Committee, John Stephens will continue to Chair the Audit Committee and Dusty McCoy will continue to Chair the Compensation Committee. In addition, the Board appointed Kathleen L. Quirk as FCX’s President. Ms. Quirk will continue as Chief Financial Officer.
When all is said and done, these are the new decision-makers at the top of the hill. And while their “interests” span the globe, closer to home its always about the “Moly,” so here’s a page in that regard from a recent FCX report:
Molybdenum is a key alloying element in steel and the raw material for several chemical-grade products used in catalysts, lubrication, smoke suppression, corrosion inhibition and pigmentation. Molybdenum, as a high-purity metal, is also used in electronics such as flat-panel displays and in super alloys used in aerospace. Reference prices for molybdenum are available in several publications, including Metals Week, CRU Report and Metal Bulletin. During 2020, the weekly average price of molybdenum quoted by Metals Week averaged $8.69 per pound, ranging from a low of $7.01 per pound to a high of $10.79 per pound, and was $9.86 per pound at December 31, 2020.
From The Annual 10-K Report
As is standard practice, publicly-traded companies are required to file annual 10-K reports. In that regard Like County is fortunate to have access to how that company presents its message, its operations, and its profits. As one of Lake County’s biggest employers (440 at last count), the public should always be aware of what Freeport McMoRan does and says, both at home and around the world. The following summation is from their Annual 2020 Report:
We are a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. We operate large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum. We are one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. Our portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest copper and gold deposits; and significant mining operations in North America and South America, including the large-scale Morenci minerals district in Arizona and the Cerro Verde operation in Peru.
We believe that we have a high-quality portfolio of long-lived copper assets positioned to generate long-term value. The ramp-up of underground mining at PT Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI) is advancing on schedule, production from the recently completed Lone Star copper leach project remains on track to produce over 200 million pounds of copper during the year 2021 and Cerro Verde has restored operations following a government-mandated shutdown in mid-March 2020 as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Peru. We are also pursuing other opportunities to enhance our mines’ net present values, and we continue to advance studies for future development of our portfolio of resources, the timing of which will depend on market conditions. We plan to prioritize long-term development opportunities during 2021 while focusing on the continued execution of our strategic objectives of maintaining a strong balance sheet, increasing cash returns to shareholders and advancing opportunities for future growth.
Protecting the health of our workforce and communities where we operate is a top priority, and we continue to focus on safeguarding our business in an uncertain public health and economic environment. Our operating sites successfully executed our April 2020 revised operating plans implemented in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and resulting negative impact on the global economy.
In connection with our financing activities in 2019 and 2020, we issued a total of $4.0 billion in new senior notes and used most of the net proceeds to purchase and redeem outstanding senior notes. As a result, we have extended our debt maturities and strengthened our financial flexibility. We have no senior note maturities until 2022 and at December 31, 2020, we had no amounts drawn under our $3.5 billion revolving credit facility, which matures in April 2024.
Open Pit Mining at Climax
Mining Museum Welcomes New Staff
In other mining news, from the museum at the top of the W. 9th Street hill, after successful searches involving staff and board members, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) reported earlier this week the addition of two new staff members. Welcome to Leadville!
Jordan Bennett began working on March 16 as the new Curator. A 2018 transplant to Colorado from Ohio, Jordan is currently completing her Master’s degree in Anthropology with a Museum and Heritage Specialization at the University of Denver. She has experience as an archaeological field technician and as a client service associate, in addition to volunteering at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Molly Brown House Museum. As an intern at the Vernon R. Alden Library Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections in Athens, Ohio, she catalogued the Columbus and Hocking Coal and Iron Company Collection and created a database on the Millfield Mine Explosion. As a curatorial assistant at the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology, she has created a physical and a virtual exhibit on Chinese immigrant miners for the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology in Boise, Idaho: “On the Gold Mountain: Chinese Mining History and Heritage of Idaho.” Jordan will join the staff full-time by mid-June, after moving to Leadville and finishing her degree requirements.
Landry Harris hails from Texas and is the new Events Manager. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Advertising in December. Before transferring to Texas Tech, Landry organized and managed social events for his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and for Holiday Inn in Corpus Christi. He has fundraising experience related to fraternity events and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In addition, he comes with customer service and social media marketing experience. He is scheduled to begin working full-time April 1.
See www.mininghalloffame.org for more information about the NMHFM.
Museum Exhibit: Mining and Baseball
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum has opened “Miner Leaguers: Mining and the Great American Pastime,” an exhibit that explores the unexpected relationship between mining and baseball. The exhibit features vintage equipment and uniforms, historic photos, and text in English and Spanish. It includes a video on West Virginia coal-town teams. “Miner Leaguers” will be on display through December 2021.
Baseball and mining expanded together across the country, with the game arriving in Colorado in the 1860s. Miners worked long hours under difficult and dangerous conditions and played baseball on weekends to let off steam during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The game provided recreation as well as helped build community. Mining companies supported teams by buying uniforms and equipment, providing easier jobs for good players, and hiring former pro and semi-pro players. Some miners were such good players that they moved on to minor league or major league teams, although they often found that they could earn more as miners than as ballplayers.
Access to “Miner Leaguers” is included in the price of admission to the museum. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is currently open Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. For more information about the Mining Museum, visit their website.