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DOJ: Freeport-McMoran To Pay $6.8 Million For Natural Resource Damage Claims

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Copper producer Freeport-McMoRan Corp. (FCX) and a subsidiary have agreed to pay $6.8 million to settle federal and state natural resource damage claims related to the Morenci copper mine in Arizona, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior said. The complaint, which was filed jointly by the U.S. and Arizona on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Arizona, alleges that the release of hazardous substances from Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc.'s mine site damaged or destroyed surface waters, terrestrial habitat and wildlife and migratory birds in the area. The Morenci Mine was owned and operated by Phelps Dodge Corp. until it was acquired by Freeport-McMoRan in 2007. Under the consent decree lodged Tuesday in federal court, the company will pay $6.8 million to the Department of the Interior, which will be used for projects to restore or acquire wildlife and wildlife habitat in the impacted area. In February, the federal district court in New Mexico approved a consent decree between the U.S., New Mexico and Freeport-McMoRan that resolved natural resource damages claims at three mining sites in southwestern New Mexico. Shares closed at $36.99 Tuesday and were unchanged after hours. The stock is down 33% over the past 12 months. -By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287;

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