Climax Molybdenum Company, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan, sustainability programs are consistent with commitments set forth in company-wide policies defined by Freeport-McMoRan. We are committed to managing and minimizing any adverse impacts of its operations on the surrounding environment, and to reclaiming, restoring and remediating affected land and waters as applicable.

Through our Environmental Policy, we commit to:

  • Sound and Sustainable environmental management and practices;
  • ISO 14001 certifications at our operating sites;
  • Providing adequate resources to fulfill our responsibilities; and
  • Continuously improving our environmental performance at every operational site.

Regulatory Compliance

We are committed to ensuring it operates within all required environmental permits and authorizations and complies with all applicable regulations. The environmental management systems in place at our operations are internationally certified under the ISO 14001 environmental management system standards.

Our environmental team is focused on compliance, permitting and risk management activities to support existing operations at its Henderson and Climax Mine Operations in Colorado. In this context, a high level of focus is given to environmental permit administration, tracking regulatory trends, and developing and maintaining partnerships with federal, state, and local regulators. In December 2016, our Molybdenum Processing Facility in Rotterdam, Netherlands was the first site in our portfolio to secure Environmental Management System (EMS) certification under the new ISO 14,001:2015 standard.

Key environmental programs under tailings and water management, air quality, reclamation, restoration, and recycling, as well notable environmental award are summarized below.

Tailings and Water Management

Tailings and surface water management processes represent a significantly large undertaking. At the Climax Mine, tailings and surface water management is managed within a land area of about 14 square miles. The systems must be able to function year-around and in all types of seasonal weather conditions. At Climax Mine, the site’s water management system serves several purposes including preserving the integrity of the tailings storage facilities, allows for reusability of process water, and achieves water quality objectives in any discharges that are released from the Climax Mine Operation to the environment.

At Climax Mine, tailings from the mill process are hydraulically transported to tailings dams. Over its history, we have managed tailings storage in different facilities. The two active facilities are the Tenmile and Mayflower Tailings Storage Facilities.

The continuing legacy of excellence in environmental stewardship by Climax Molybdenum Co. was celebrated in August 2014 with the unveiling of a $200 million water treatment plant at the Climax operations in Colorado. Climax completed construction of the Climax Mine Water Treatment Plant to replace the Mayflower Pond as Stage 2 metals removal. Extensive safety and environmental controls have been built in to the plant to assure compliance with state and federal discharge requirements. The treated water is discharged into Ten Mile Creek which flows into local fisheries and recreation areas.

We collect and treat all of our industrial wastewater and are at the forefront of water treatment in the international mining industry. A state-of-the-art water treatment system is being commissioned at the Climax Mine and will achieve significant improvements in the water quality of the site’s surface water discharges. In 2008, the Climax Mine commissioned a $23 million initial upgrade of its industrial water treatment system using a similar technology. At the Henderson Mine, a state-of-the-art water treatment plant was constructed in 1997 to treat mine drainage from its underground mine. These water treatment plants treat the impacted waters for eventual discharge as clean water into sensitive trout fisheries. Industrial wastewater produced at the Henderson Mill facility is managed within a non-discharging closed-loop industrial water circuit where all process waters are collected, recycled and reused.

Air Quality

Air emissions from our operations arise from both its mining and milling operations emissions. At the mining level, air emissions result from underground and surface mine development and production processes. From milling operations, emission result from ore handling, grinding/flotation, and tailing deposition processes. State-of-the-art dust baghouses, wetting agents, and vehicle scrubbers are utilized for capturing and removing significant amounts of these contaminants.

Additional examples of existing emission control systems used for point source control include catalytic scrubbers used for controlling vehicle exhaust emissions, wet scrubbers for particulate dust emissions, and baghouses for smaller dust control applications. For non-point sources such as tailings storage facility surface areas and site access roads, emission control techniques includes periodic application of wetting agents and dust suppressants. At the mine facilities, the Company also utilizes biodiesel fuels for achieving reduced diesel particulate emissions.

Air quality permits for our Colorado operations are administered under the State of Colorado’s air quality permitting program. The permits specify emissions limits for each emission source at the Henderson and Climax Mine facilities. Our compliance performance over the life of its operations has been consistently strong and is reflective of effective Operations and Maintenance programs and management practices that keep all emissions control systems operating within performance requirements.


Under its environmental permits and together with our sustainability program, significant land and watershed restoration projects have been completed at our Colorado operations. Approximately 500 acres of previously disturbed land has been fully reclaimed at the Climax Mine since 1997.

Historic Mining Restoration

Historic mining impacts surrounding the Climax Mine have also been restored. Turn-of-the-century mining left waste rock stockpiles, mine opening head frames, and prospecting pits located in the Searle Gulch area north of our industrial area. Mine waste was collected, removed and relocated to a storage area located within our industrial footprint; the area has been re-vegetated and old-mine openings have been sealed to prevent accidents.


Site-wide waste recycling programs are in place at our operations that have resulted in significant reductions in the volume of domestic trash and industrial waste materials that are disposed off-site. Our waste recycling programs now comprise recycling of scrap metal, used oil, scrap lumber, tires and other materials.


The Climax Mine has successfully completed several multi-million dollar environmental restoration projects; a process whereby land that was previously affected by mining and mineral processing operation is restored to a condition that mimics the pre-operations habitat, vegetation, wildlife and ecology that existed prior to disturbance. Under its environmental permits and together with the company’s sustainability program, significant land and watershed restoration projects have been completed.


More recent reclamation includes completion of stream channel restoration in the Arkansas River Headwaters. The Climax Mine received the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining & Safety’s 2010 “Hardrock Reclamation Award” for this accomplishment.

Other notable restoration projects include the 2004 rehabilitation of the Eagle Park Reservoir from an industrial process water impoundment into a fresh water reservoir fishery was completed in 2004 and restoration of the Robinson tailing facility that has been restored to a high-altitude meadow and wildlife habitat.

Arkansas River Headwaters


Arkansas River Headwaters

Additional Awards received: