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Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award

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2018 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award

Freeport-McMoRan Foundation was selected as the 2018 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award recipient for its significant and sustained commitment to educating the public about the importance of mining to our everyday lives. The Foundation is committed to engaging with the public through a variety of partnerships with schools, educational programs and Scouts at all levels to improve the public's awareness of the importance of mining to our everyday lives.  Additionally, their programs aim to increase teacher quality and increase student achievement, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), disciplines critical for the advancement of the mining industry. The Foundation takes a strategic approach in building mining and mineral education partnerships that integrate effective STEM education best practices necessary for building critical thinking skills that are necessary to discover and mine the minerals needed to fuel the necessities of life.

A cornerstone of Freeport-McMoRan Foundation's mining education portfolio is a partnership with Discovery Education™ called “Dig Into Mining” ( Dig Into Mining tells “The Story of Copper” through an interactive educational program that explores the use of metals in our everyday lives. Content provides students with a deeper understanding of today’s hard rock mining industry, helping to cultivate interest and excitement for potential careers in the industry. This initiative equips educators, students and families with dynamic resources – including virtual field trips, interactive digital learning tools, and school-to-home connections – designed to give students a front row seat to nature’s geological wonders and inspire further exploration of the world around them. Since its launch in 2014, over 500,000 people have worked on the site’s three Virtual Labs and thousands of classrooms have participated in three Virtual Field Trips. Dig Into Mining has allowed “The Story of Copper” to be accessible anywhere in the world.

Freeport-McMoRan University Teams (known as U-Teams) represent a comprehensive approach to building stronger partnerships with target universities to benefit both the company’s recruiting goals as well as school needs. Robust mining, metallurgy and geology programming at the university level is critical to educating the public about mining and providing those interested in pursuing a career in the industry the needed pathway. The company has a U-Team with eight U.S. universities that have strong programs in mining engineering, metallurgy and/or geology – three of the most challenging workforce pipeline needs. Program goals include: creating the most value-added relationship with each university by exploring mutual needs and interests; identifying best possible university investments/grants to advance mining-related education and meeting business needs; and maximizing interaction with students and faculty in key disciplines to position the company as an employer of choice ultimately increasing the pipeline of new hires.  As a result of the U-Team approach, recruitment of students in critical disciplines has increased by 5% and the company has more effectively invested dollars to areas that increase student enrollment, such as retention of high-quality faculty, improved learning facilities and appropriately allocating scholarships.

Mining in Society Merit Badge Workshops bring hundreds of Boy Scouts into our operations each year to provide them with hands-on learning experiences that support them earning the Mining in Society Merit Badge. Scouts participate in a series of interactive activities and also take a tour of the operation. In 2017, Girl Scout troops will participate in two of the Merit Badge Workshops as we develop a mining education partnership with Girl Scouts to build upon the success of SME’s efforts in reestablishing the Boy Scouts Merit Badge. 

JA BizTown is an educational program geared towards fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students. The students are assigned individual jobs and responsibilities for the on-site simulation in a student-size town. Students run their own businesses (including a mining business), deposit payroll checks, and sell goods and services to develop an understanding of work ethic, economics and leadership. The Freeport-McMoRan Shop in BizTown allows for students to spend the day as CEO, CFO or a mining engineer. Additionally, every other student who visits the shop has a chance to get their picture in front of the haul truck tire; this is one of the most popular purchases in BizTown.

STEMPro is a Freeport-McMoRan volunteer initiative where our highly talented technical and professional employees volunteer their time in a variety of ways to share their knowledge, career path and daily work with students to help spark students interest and success in STEM. Research has shown that role models are critical to encouraging students to pursue STEM disciplines, particularly minorities and girls. One example of how Freeport-McMoRan employees model the STEM skills necessary to be successful in the mining industry is at Engineering Days at Eastern Arizona College.

STEM /Mini-Grants for Education are classroom grants that are available for programs/projects that help students acquire the skills necessary for success in a global, knowledge-based economy and society.  Priority is given to projects with the goal of inspiring students to pursue post-secondary degrees or career and technical certifications – and ultimately careers – in mining and other STEM-related industries.

Site tours and outreach are vital to the hands-on visual education component of understanding our work.  Most recently, our Safford operations and Bisbee’s Copper Queen Branch participated in National Technology Field Trip Day.  Students from Bisbee High School’s AP Environmental class received a tour of the evapotranspiration covers on our reclamation site and were able to see various stages of the reclamation process. Such activities connect the work that is happening at a mine site in their community to project-based learning activities.

Another partner of Freeport-McMoRan’s is the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), a conservation-focused non-profit that promotes habitat management initiatives through partnerships and education. Freeport-McMoRan has been a member of WHC since 2006 and currently has 15 sites across the portfolio certified through WHC’s Conservation Certification program. WHC’s unified standard of certification recognizes meaningful biodiversity conservation, environmental education and community outreach programs, creating an opportunity for community engagement that highlights effective post-mining land use.

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