Freeport McMoRan slapped with $6.8 million fine

US copper giant Freeport McMoRan has been ordered to settle claims worth $6.8 million for polluting areas around the Morenci Mine in Arizona.

State and federal authorities brought the claim against Freeport for allowing tailings to seep into rivers, streams and aquifers, and for letting tailings and smelter emissions blow off site:

“Based on historical studies and additional assessment work, the trustees have determined that releases of hazardous substances at or from the mine site have occurred and such releases have caused – and continue to cause – injuries to natural resources at and in the vicinity of the mine site, including but not limited to injuries to surface water, sediments, soils, terrestrial habitats and terrestrial receptors, and migratory birds,” the complaint states.

Freeport bought the mine, which is the largest copper operation in Arizona, from Phelps-Dodge in 2007. The money is to be used to restore wildlife and habitat in the affected areas.