Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
Safford, AZ, U.S.

Safford Leach Copper Mine

Fluor carried out the study and engineering, procurement and construction management support (EPCM) services for Freeport-McMoRan's copper mine in Arizona, the largest to be built in the United States in more than 30 years.

Client's Challenge

Freeport-McMoRan's 3,360-acre site in southern Arizona held 455 million tons of ore in two deposits. The company planned two circular open-pit mines, the first to reach approximately 4,100 feet in diameter and 1,600 feet in depth. The processing plant production capacity is 114,000 (short) tons per day of ore.

The site was to contain technologically advanced equipment such as a singularized ore handling unit, a high-capacity mobile stacking system and electrowinning facility.

Fluor's Solution

Fluor was responsible for EPCM for the ore processing, solvent extraction/electrowinning facilities and associated infrastructure. The project included equipment used in primary crushing, coarse ore stockpile, secondary and tertiary crushing, as well as all conveying, agglomeration and stacking systems; an 850-acre leach pad; solution extraction, tank farm and electrowinning plant.

Fluor handled project design and engineering, as well as construction management support. During construction, the number of workers on site averaged about 650, peaking at 1,050 craft.


The state-of-the-art site held technological advancements including singularized ore handling units, a high-capacity mobile stacking system and electrowinning facility. At full production, the mine was to move 266,000 tons per day of material, 43 percent of which would be ore. Production of the first cathode was achieved seven months ahead of schedule.